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.
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."