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State Promotion of Green Building Standards: Public Green Buildings

Already several states require state-funded projects to be built according to standards that are set by the U.S. Green Building Council.  The Council uses a ratings system, known as the LEED system, to give credits for implementing green building measures, such as using solar energy or reducing water use.

In 2005, Washington became the first state to adopt green building requirements for their state-funded projects.  Their policy requires that state-funded projects over 5,000 square feet, including schools, be built according to LEED standards. Connecticut, Nevada, Rhode Island and Arizona also implemented green building standards for state-funded buildings.  Arizona's standard was implemented through an executive order from the governor.

Nationwide, momentum behind promoting green buildings is increasing and several states have active bills in their legislatures promoting the use of green building standards.

  • California AB 1337 would develop and adopt regulations for green building standards for construction and renovation of state buildings by January 1, 2008 and require all state buildings built or renovated after January 1, 2009, be designed and operated according to those regulations.  Unfortunately, even though it passed through the legislature, the bill was vetoed by the Governor.
       
  • California HB 898 would require state agencies responsible for proposing building standards to the Buildings Standards Commission to integrate green building elements into the standards that they propose.
       
  • Connecticut HB 5603 would apply green building requirements to new construction of state facilities costing one million dollars or more.
       
  • New Jersey has two green building bills this session. SB 843 would require new state buildings to be designed and managed to meet LEED Silver certification. SB 2151 would require that affordable housing be constructed according to green building standards.