The Department is committed to providing Federal leadership in planning, acquiring, site selection, designing, building, operating and maintaining high performance and sustainable buildings. The guiding principles of this initiative are to employ integrated design principles, optimize energy performance, protect and conserve water, enhance indoor environmental quality, and assess all building materials for their durability and their value as a green product to lessen the environmental impact.
To that end, Job Corps updated its Construction Handbook in 2006 to include guidance for sustainable building design – to reduce both long-term energy usage and maintenance costs. The agency requires that all its new buildings be designed and constructed per Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or Green Design principles, or other similar high performance sustainability goals. For example, some of the sustainable possibilities for the new center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, include water conservation through the use of native plants and vegetation to minimize irrigation needs and reducing energy consumption up to 30 percent through the use of geothermal technology – a technique that uses the earth's mass to assist in heating and cooling the buildings. Additionally, Job Corps facilities staff, contractors, and regional program managers inspect construction projects and review invoices.
All Job Corps contractors utilize Life Cycle Cost Analyses for recommendations in making the selection of energy sources, systems and equipment, and building materials. Contractors, at a minimum, must:
- Consider the use of harvested rainwater, treated wastewater and air conditioner condensate and use them, where feasible and allowed, for non-potable and/or potable use.
- To the maximum extent feasible, maintain or restore the predevelopment hydrology of the site with regard to temperature, rate, volume, and duration of flow.
- Use certified sustainable wood products, if these products meet performance requirements and are available at a reasonable cost.
- Provide salvage, reuse and recycling services for at least 50% of waste generated where markets or onsite recycling opportunities exist.
- Evaluate options for the use of energy and water conservation measures in building design, inclusive of solar hot water heating systems, tank-less water heaters, wind energy, biomass, and other measures suitable to the location of construction.
DOL has established the Job Corps Capital Asset Plan to govern the allocation of resources and selection of projects. Job Corps utilizes information from the facilities surveys, done at each center every three years by the Architectural and Engineering Contractor, to identify projects that are rated according to importance to mission, life safety concerns, and regulatory (environmental, accessibility) requirements. Center operators and Federal regional staff provide input to rate the greatest needs from their perspective. Following this prioritization of the projects, a cost analysis is conducted to determine the projects to fund in the program year. The budget is developed, taking into account project costs and benefits, performance measures, needs identified by Job Corps managers, program goals as established by Job Corps National Director and DOL, and other issues (e.g., regulatory, environmentally). Job Corps prepares Exhibit 300s – that incorporate risk analysis, cost benefit analysis, and earned value management for major capital projects – in support of its capital budget request and Capital Asset Plan. The Plan’s budget, after approved by Job Corps National Director, is reviewed by the Departmental Budget Center and DOL’s Budget Committee (which includes the Real Property Officer, Procurement Executive, and the Chief Financial Officer).