Coming to a Building Code Near You?

9 Dec 2010

The U.S. General Services Administration (the “GSA”), an independent Federal agency established to, among other things, provide and manage federal facilities, has upgraded its green building standards.  The GSA recently announced that it now requires LEED Gold certification (it previously required LEED Silver) for all new construction and substantial renovation of federally-owned facilities, and LEED Silver for GSA leases in new construction projects over 10,000 square feet.  The new requirement applies to all projects that are currently in design as well as all future projects.

Federal, state and many local governments are now requiring LEED certification for all government-owned new construction and renovations projects.  Does that mean that local building codes are likely to adopt a LEED certification standard for private construction projects as well?  Not any time soon.  LEED is a high bar and was never intended to be a base-line requirement or as a prerequisite to obtaining a building permit.  Having said that, there is no doubt that you will see green standards becoming more and more integrated into your local building code and the GSA requirements are sure to nudge codes in a “greener” direction.  Further, as discussed in a prior post (“Proposed Bills Would Provide Tax Abatements for Green Construction Projects in Michigan”), government agencies may decide that incentivizing LEED certification, rather than mandating it, is a better approach.

For more information on the GSA’s requirements, click here.

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