I’ve been keeping an eye on Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) because I’m moving there in June 2007. Recently, there’ve been rumors that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the "Mormons") is in plans to officially adopt LEED standards on a going forward basis for its churches + buildings. Generally speaking, Mormons strive for thriftiness and gratitude, and these principles applied to construction mean that buildings should conserve and reuse resources where possible. While the church hasn’t made such an announcement, recent SLC news is the next best thing because the city’s population is about 50% Mormon. In early November 2006, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance requiring commercial, apartment, and condominium builders to meet LEED standards if they are funded by city loans, grants, or tax rebates. The same ordinance also ratified Mayor Rocky Anderson’s summer executive order requiring new municipal buildings to meet LEED-silver standards.
SLC is changing in a big way. The entire downtown landscape will be transformed over the next five years as $1.5 billion in capital is placed in new construction. This movement, aka Downtown Rising, is garnering support from all levels in the community. According to the Vision Summary of Downtown Rising, one goal is to "develop environmentally efficient buildings, districts and public spaces."
Ostensibly, SLC’s main goal in providing LEED incentives is to promote environmentally friendly construction. This ordinance isn’t the last step for eco-building in SLC, however. They’re working on further incentives to promote green building; they’re considering expedited permits/plan reviews or lowered fees for all developers that incorporate LEED certification in their plans. Talk about major opportunities! It’s a great time to be a green developer. I can’t wait to get to SLC.