States Powering New Green Building Policy

Words: Dan Kamys States Powering New Green Building Policy

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released a report highlighting positive green building policy advancements being made in all 50 states. The report, "Advancing Green Building Policy in the States: 2011 Victories from Alabama to Wyoming," showcases actions that states are taking to transform the market, despite a struggling economy.

"This report is a goldmine of creative approaches to driving a green economy where super efficient buildings become the norm rather than the exception," says Roger Platt, senior VP of global policy and law, USGBC.

"Given the public's demand that government do more with less, well targeted investments at the state level can actually inspire innovation, unlock efficiency and promote public health all while creating and maintaining jobs," Platt adds.

Among the hundreds of strong ideas that have been initiated by state legislatures and regulatory authorities this year, 25 states have taken another step forward. The newly adopted policies are wide ranging, covering energy efficiency finance, investments in high-performance schools and incentives for green homes and manufacturing facilities, in addition to new minimum codes.

Highlights include:

  • A "cool schools" bill was adopted in Oregon, which would allow the state to repair and retrofit aging schools to reduce operational costs and create jobs. This will also promote human and environmental health in the buildings where 20 percent of America spends its time.
  • A bill in Connecticut established the nation's first state-managed "green bank" - also known as the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority - which leverages government dollars to provide financing for clean energy and efficiency projects across the state.
  • A new law in Colorado now provides incentives for homeowners to improve both the energy efficiency of their existing home and also to purchase a "highly efficient new home," such as one that is LEED certified.
  • In New York, a new law establishes a revolving loan fund that enables property owners to access financing for retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades and to repay the loan with savings earned on utility bills.
  • A Maryland act now enables the adoption of a national model green building code by all local governments across the state.
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