There's been a lot of talk about various green building provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454 or "ACES"), but there's one specific section of ACES that deserves more attention. Section 204 needs to be included in the green building discussion, because this is where the Building Energy Performance Labeling Program is. With this program, as we predicted with our Seven Green Trends, the federal government could lay the foundation for true and legitimate building environmental impact labels. Let's talk about this unprecedented policy, with a little background discussion.
This article was written by Charles Lockwood, a green real estate authority and consultant based in southern California and New York City. His articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s.
California—the state that invented freeways and suburban sprawl—has become a trendsetter again, and not a moment too soon in our new age of global climate change. In October 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB375, which was supported by environmentalists, homebuilders, and cities and counties. SB375 will limit the state’s CO2 emissions by curbing suburban sprawl and increasing transit-based development through various incentives.
If a community plans walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented growth that reduces automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions, for example, it gets moved to the front of the line for state and federal transportation funds. If a proposed building is located near a transit line, it will have an easier environmental review process. Why is SB375 important?
Keep your eyes out for the newest tool designed to rate cities in their efforts to push environmental stewardship. The STAR Community Index is like LEED, but it’s designed to rate local governments. With myriad green city rankings and websites trying to calculate the sustainability of local governments,* it’s high time for a highly respected, standardized formula for measuring a community’s sustainability. According to ICLEI, the STAR Program will create a process, not unlike LEED, to bring in leaders in the field toward the goal of establishing shared measures and processes for greening communities. STAR will have tiered levels, with the aim to accomplish the following:
[+] California adopts statewide green building code [SF Chronicle]
[+] State adopts nation’s first state green building codes [Bizjournal]
[+] California code adopted for all new construction [GreenBiz]
In conjunction with The Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit in Japan occurring right now from July 7-9, 2008, Japan and Sekisui House have released details of The Zero Emissions House, a high-tech, prefabricated home designed in the vernacular of traditional Japan. As the G8 Summit focuses on various issues pressing on the world right now, representative nations will be discussing the environment and how to deal with climate change. In that regard, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is constructing the house a short distance from the summit to show Japan’s potential contribution to cutting emissions in the world’s built environment.
The AIA has been publishing some interesting analysis of U.S. green building programs, which I wanted to share with all you enthusiasts. In their report, Local Leaders in Sustainability, the AIA looked at 661 communities, or cities with a population greater than 50,000 people, and conducted research of each communities’ green building programs. The AIA spoke with planners and other officials from 606 cities, getting a 92% response rate. They found that 92 of the 606 responding cities had green building programs — or to put that in perspective, over 42 million people live in cities with green building programs. The report also elaborated on program trends and includes case studies of programs in Portland, San Francisco, Scottsdale, Chicago, Austin, and Atlanta.