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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.