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Despite Weak Economy, Green Building Programs Grow

Latest News > Green Building News

Despite the weak economy, U.S. cities are continuing and expanding their green building programs, says a new survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

More than one in five U.S. cities with populations greater than 50,000 that were surveyed report having a policy to promote green buildings. The programs potentially affect more than 53 million people, some one-sixth of the total U.S. population.

The new report is an update to a study first conducted in 2007, "Local Leaders in Sustainability." The new report, entitled, "Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment," is an inventory of policies and best practices intended to help policymakers advance a more sustainable legislative agenda for growth and development, according to AIA.

Among the highlights of the report are:
  • 138 cities have green building programs, an increase of more than 50% since 2007
  • 24 of the 25 most populated metropolitan regions of the U.S. are built around cities with green building policies
  • The Western region has the most green building program with 56 cities in six states
  • The Mountain region is second in the percentage of cities with green building programs.
  • The Eastern region has seen a 75% rise in green building programs since 2007
  • The Central region has 21 cities with green building programs.

The report also contains a number of recommendations for cities to develop successful green building programs. These include:
  • Hire a director of sustainability.
  • Train and accredit municipal employees.
  • Pursue green economic development.
  • Implement additional sustainability initiatives.
  • Remove legal barriers.
  • Make the program regional.
  • Take a community-wide approach to green building and planning.
  • Utilize the training and experience of architects.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Keep it simple.

"It is encouraging that cities are recognizing the economic benefits of energy-efficient buildings, and equally encouraging that the number of programs across the country are increasing despite such difficult economic conditions," said Christine McEntee, AIA executive vice president/CEO. "Our ultimate goal is to achieve carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030 and that all design projects will be sustainable as a matter of course."

Read the full news release here.

Download the full report or selected portions of the report here.