Despite Weak Economy, Green Building Programs Grow
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Despite the weak economy, U.S. cities are continuing and expanding their green building programs, says a new survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
More than one in five U.S. cities with populations greater than 50,000 that were surveyed report having a policy to promote green buildings. The programs potentially affect more than 53 million people, some one-sixth of the total U.S. population.
The new report is an update to a study first conducted in 2007, "Local Leaders in Sustainability." The new report, entitled, "Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment,"
is an inventory of policies and best practices intended to help policymakers advance a more sustainable legislative agenda for growth and development, according to AIA.
Among the highlights of the report are:
- 138 cities have green building programs, an increase of more than 50% since 2007
- 24 of the 25 most populated metropolitan regions of the U.S. are built around cities with green building policies
- The Western region has the most green building program with 56 cities in six states
- The Mountain region is second in the percentage of cities with green building programs.
- The Eastern region has seen a 75% rise in green building programs since 2007
- The Central region has 21 cities with green building programs.
The report also contains a number of recommendations for cities to develop successful green building programs. These include:
- Hire a director of sustainability.
- Train and accredit municipal employees.
- Pursue green economic development.
- Implement additional sustainability initiatives.
- Remove legal barriers.
- Make the program regional.
- Take a community-wide approach to green building and planning.
- Utilize the training and experience of architects.
- Be inclusive.
- Keep it simple.
"It is encouraging that cities are recognizing the economic benefits of energy-efficient buildings, and equally encouraging that the number of programs across the country are increasing despite such difficult economic conditions," said Christine McEntee, AIA executive vice president/CEO. "Our ultimate goal is to achieve carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030 and that all design projects will be sustainable as a matter of course."
Read the full news release here.
Download the full report or selected portions of the report here.