The movement toward sustainable building design gathered momentum
recently as cities and states across the U.S. added their support with
green building legislation.
Nevada became the second state, behind Washington, to legislate that all building construction using state funds will meet certain green standards, when Gov. Kenny Guinn signed the bill into law in June.
The bill requires state-funded projects to meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Regulations in the law relate to energy, conservation, construction and renovation. In addition, the law creates tax incentives that allow for the abatement of taxes of up to 50% of property taxes for up to 10 years on buildings meeting the LEED silver standard.
Miami-Dade County, Fla., created incentives for green construction standards for commercial and industrial buildings with an ordinance passed by the Board of County Commissioners in May. The ordinance also created incentives to attract solar energy equipment manufacturers to the county.
Businesses that build to meet the LEED standard or standards of the Florida Green Building Coalition, can be eligible to receive the county’s Targeted Jobs incentives, and those that also incorporate solar thermal, photovoltaic, fuel cell or cogeneration energy technology can receive additional credits.
The Phoenix, Ariz., City Council approved green building guidelines for new facilities in a June meeting. The city’s building standards will be revised to require construction to the basic LEED certification standards.
Phoenix has run a pilot program for several years to gain experience building to the LEED standard, in which a fire station, libraries and a convention center were built. The pilot program indicated that construction to the basic LEED standard cost some 2-3% more, but that the additional costs were recovered from reduced operation and maintenance costs.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson decreed by executive order in July that all future city-owned buildings will be “environmentally friendly.” The city will use the LEED standards.
“Heating and cooling buildings is consistently one of the largest uses of energy in the country,” Anderson said. “If we are able to effectively cut greenhouse gases and other pollutants at the city level, the benefits and long-term energy savings will far outweigh the initial building costs.”
Salt Lake City joins more than 25 other cities across the U.S. that have adopted the LEED standards.