Monday, April 19, 2010

Schindler on LEED and Municipal Adoption of Private Green Building Standards

Sarah Schindler (Maine) has posted Following Industry's LEED: Municipal Adoption of Private Green Building StandardsFlorida Law Review, Vol. 62, pp. 285-350, April 2010.  The abstract:

Local governments are beginning to require new, privately constructed and funded buildings to be “green” buildings. Instead of creating their own, locally-derived definitions of green buildings, many municipalities are adopting an existing private standard created by members of the building industry: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This Article explains and assesses the privately promulgated LEED standards. It argues that the translation of LEED standards, which were intended to be voluntary, into law raises several theoretical and practical problems. Specifically, private green building ordinances that rely on LEED do not ensure a reduction in the negative local environmental impacts of buildings, nor do they provide any assurance that those standards were created through a legitimate process. The Article concludes by offering an alternative approach, suggesting that municipalities should instead enact green building ordinances that have been promulgated by public governmental bodies, rather than private, industry-based organizations, and done so locally, taking into account specific local building-related and environmental concerns.

Matt Festa

Development, Environmentalism, Green Building, Local Government, Scholarship | Permalink

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Big problem waiting to happen, especially when the approvals are specifically tied to LEED approval as opposed to mirroring credits and having local officials responsible for analyzing compliance.

The more timely question is whether promulgation of the IGCC, folks paralleling Cal-Green code, and finalization of ASHRAE 189.1 will moot some of the dominance of LEED in municipal codes.

Posted by: Timothy R. Hughes | Apr 19, 2010 7:43:37 AM

This is very exciting! Sarah was a student in the Land Use Clinic during our first semester in existence, and she's definitely made good over the years.

We've done some work at the clinic on municipal adoption of LEED as the green standard, so I'll read this article with interest. (Tim, are you going to do a follow up blog post or article on green building standards?)

Posted by: Jamie Baker Roskie | Apr 19, 2010 10:49:07 AM