Town of Babylon's LEED Code and LEED Creep Potential

Newsday_logo Fellow green building blogger Stephen at GreenBuildingsNYC had an editorial published called "The Greening of Buildings: Babylon Town’s adoption of an environmentally friendly building code has virtues, but could scare off potential development."  Stephen talks about Town of Babylon’s adoption of a LEED Code (likely the nation’s strictest) requiring commercial, industrial, office, and multiple residential buildings larger than 4,000 sf to get LEED certification.  I recommend giving the article a read, but I wanted to highlight a few salient points that he made: 

  1. LEED ordinances that require an actual USGBC certificate face opposition from interested parties because (1) depending on the size of the project, owners will need to pay a minimum of $35,000 per project just to secure certification (unless Platinum certified), and (2) there is a potential for delay in process of evaluating applications. 
  2. LEED ordinances that "automatically adopt any future versions promulgated" could be problematic.  By doing this, a town has effectively handed the keys to its local building code to a third party.  The building code can be subject to modification any time. 
  3. An effective means of encouraging green building practices is through the use of financial incentives such as floor-area bonuses under the existing zoning, expedited review of building permits, and various tax credits and rebates

Good food for thought.  These are just a few points from the article.  It’s important to remember that LEED is a means to sustainability, it’s not the end, by any stretch of the imagination.  Nice work, Stephen. 


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  • http://www.greenbuildingsnyc.com Stephen

    Thanks, Preston. There’s obviously a lot more to say about LEED and LEED creep than what I was able to present in my article, but I think the last line of your post- that LEED is a means to sustainability, and not the end- is exactly on point.

  • http://ronsblog.thisoldbuilder.com/ Ron

    Talk about LEED creep, this whole story is a little creepy. Quite a few municipalities around the world are adopting sustainable building guidelines, but this is the only time I’ve heard of any jurisdiction giving away their enforcement rights and responsibilities so completely. I can’t blame them for not wanting to reinvent the wheel by establishing their own guidelines, but I’m afraid this lazy approach to resolving the issues could backfire. Wonder what they plan on doing when the Leed-H is issued? Wasn’t LEED certification always intended to be ellective?

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