When it comes to going green, energy-management technology is one sure-fire way a builder can increase the sustainability of a structure for the long term. By not only practicing eco-friendly construction during the build process, but by equipping buildings and facilities with cost-efficient, energy-saving tools that can reduce a structure’s environmental footprint, construction companies can support a more sustainable future.

A new recommendation from the Green Building Advisory Committee—an entity created by the GSA (U.S. General Services Admin.), www.gsa.gov, Washington D.C., to advise on ways to transform federal buildings into sustainable structures using green technologies and practices—officially suggests LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification for all federal buildings.

LEED-certified structures are built to reduce carbon emissions, ultimately contributing to a healthier environment for residents, workers, and the community at large. Energy-efficient technologies can be part of earning LEED certification, which awards “credits” for things like promoting smart use of water and achieving optimal indoor air quality, as well as using innovative strategies like “smart” technologies to promote a building’s energy performance.

Before making its official recommendation, the Green Building Advisory Committee evaluated more than 160 tools and systems—a process it began in 2011. The committee not only suggests LEED as the “best measure of building efficiency,” it suggests LEED certification is the best path toward fulfilling the government’s green building mission as outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Another government-led green initiative, the White House’s Green Button initiative, has a new ally. Bidgely, www.bidgely.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., a residential energy-management company, now supports Green Button data from utilities, meaning the company’s cloud-based software can be delivered to more residential consumers at a lower cost than ever before.

In March 2012, President Obama introduced the Green Button initiative as “an industry-led effort that … provide(s) consumers with easy-to-understand data about their household energy use.” Green Button aims to give millions of American households and business owners the ability to access data about their energy use with the click of a button—often via Web portals and/or smartphone applications.

Bidgely’s cloud-based technology helps residential customers gather actionable data, such as where and how energy is being used within the home. With this data in hand, consumers become more aware of their energy-use patterns and are often motivated to live more sustainably.

Thanks to directives such as Green Button, continued promotion of the benefits of LEED certification, and private companies like Bidgely, builders, commercial owners/operators, and homeowners have more opportunities and more incentives to manage the efficiency of a structure. As this technology becomes more accessible, it fuels an increasingly green-minded society and contributes to a more sustainable world.