GSA finalizes sustainable and equitable siting rule for federal facility location decisions

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. General Services Administration announced a final rule amending the Federal Management Regulation that will promote sustainability, equity and community engagement in decisions on where federal facilities are located. This action delivers on President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan, which directed the federal government to promote sustainable locations for federal facilities and to strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which federal facilities are located.

The rule, which applies to decisions for both owned and leased locations, outlines social, economic, and environmental factors to be considered in location decisions, while retaining GSA’s long-standing principles for site selection. The rule emphasizes consultation with Tribal, state, and local officials and meaningful engagement with communities that may be impacted by location decisions. This includes efforts ranging from addressing displacement risks to aligning with local development plans.

This final rule brings federal location policy into compliance with updates to current governing authorities over the past several years.

“The federal government is responsible for serving all Americans, and one of the ways we do that is by being a good neighbor and a strong partner to the communities we serve,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “By promoting sustainable and equitable development, this policy will help spur local economic opportunities, while also increasing trust that government services are delivered effectively.”

“This rule comes at a time when we are making critical, strategic decisions with our federal agency partners about optimizing the government’s real estate footprint,” said GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Elliot Doomes. “As we do this, we aim to ensure that we are good neighbors to the local communities we inhabit, whether by locating near public transit or by bolstering support and access for historically underserved or overburdened communities.” 

The considerations outlined in the final rule will complement those related to agency mission and physical security needs, cost considerations, consolidation and reductions in square footage, prioritizing federally owned space, and other procurement policies.

“Responses to our proposed rulemaking from advocacy groups and industry experts helped us shape policy that meets the world as it is today and incorporates industry practice,” said GSA Office of Government-wide Policy Associate Administrator Krystal Brumfield. “This rule clarifies and codifies some of the best practices we’ve already been employing when it comes to making decisions that not only benefit agency missions but also serve the interests of the broader community and all Americans.”

In addition to agency mission, security and program requirements, the rule calls for federal agencies to also consider a series of factors meant to promote federal investment that supports larger priorities and local development objectives, including:

  • Being compatible with state and local economic development objectives.
  • Promoting environmentally sustainable development and reducing emissions.
  • Locating facilities along transportation corridors to encourage the use of alternate modes of transportation. 
  • Prioritizing central business districts, existing employment centers and rural town centers.
  • Advancing federal and local historic preservation objectives and promoting the preservation of historic resources and other existing buildings.
  • Advancing environmental justice and equitable development.

With more than 300,000 federal buildings nationwide, the federal government is the country’s largest landlord. In support of President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan, agencies are leading by example to make government operations more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. In addition to modernizing the federal building portfolio to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, the federal government is also answering President Biden’s charge to promote sustainable locations for federal facilities that strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which federal facilities are located.

“Today’s action delivers on President Biden’s charge to make federal facilities better neighbors in their communities,” said Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Mayock. “The Biden-Harris Administration is demonstrating how the Federal Government can lead by example by tackling climate change in ways that build healthier communities and advance environmental justice for all Americans.”

The rule applies to property under the jurisdiction, custody, and control of GSA. Other agencies using independent authorities may adopt the policy as a best practice, subject to any statutory requirements consistent with their missions and any relevant executive orders governing their inventories.

For federal construction projects, GSA will update its informational content related to site selection policy and procedures, as well as its training for planning managers, site acquisition staff, and client agencies. For leased buildings, GSA will develop new contract language, leasing policy and procedures (in the form of a Leasing Desk Guide) and training for lease contracting officers and lease managers. 


About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing approximately $100 billion in annual contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. For more information, visit and follow @USGSA.