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August 23, 2011
Report Details State Legislation Supporting Green Building
    by Robert Kropp

The US Green Building Council finds that despite widespread concern over budget deficits, at least 30 pieces of legislation addressing green building have been enacted by states in 2011.

Despite what Jeremy Sigmon of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) describes in a blog post as "a year of what feels like an unyielding stream of at least underwhelming news," the organization, which promotes cost-efficient and energy-saving green building, has found that 30 pieces of legislation addressing the issue have been enacted by states thus far this year.

USGBC's report, entitled Advancing Green Building Policy in the States, acknowledges that in a year dominated by news of budget deficits, "bills with a fiscal note in nearly any chamber were likely to be dead on arrival, and reactions to some of the politics of Washington further clouded the debate." However, the report, which reviews legislation enacted by states thus far in 2011, concludes that "building green is not a partisan issue."

Green buildings "strike an important chord with lawmakers who are doing their best to protect the public from hazards that are now far better understood and to foster economic productivity, and the growth of the emerging clean, green economy," the report continued.

Sigmon's blog post highlighted some of the legislative victories contained in the report. For instance, in Florida, two laws were passed that could improve the scoring system of competitive loans for affordable housing developers that utilize green building practices.

In Oregon, the report states, a new law "creates tax credits for commercial construction or retrofit projects that achieve high standards for building energy efficiency, offering LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification as a compliance pathway."

In California, the Green Building Standards (CALGreen) Code went into effect on January 1. The purpose of the Code "is to improve public health, safety and general welfare by enhancing the design and construction of buildings through the use of building concepts having a reduced negative impact or positive environmental impact and encouraging sustainable construction practices."

In what Sigmon described as the most original development thus far this year, Connecticut established the first green bank in the US. The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) will leverage both public and private funds to drive investment in clean energy deployment in Connecticut.


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