Leed Locally: How Local Governments Can Effectively Mandate Green Building Standards

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards are third-party benchmark as-sessment tools that promote sustainable design and construction principles that are applicable to all building types. In an effort to reduce adverse environmental impacts associated with conventional construction practices, several municipalities in the United States have moved toward requiring LEED standard compliance for new buildings. Questions have arisen, however, regarding the effectiveness of LEED standards, as well as the appropriateness of allowing local governments to mandate such standards.This Note examines how several municipalities have chosen to implement green building codes, and how LEED mandated codes compare to similar programs that promote sustainable design, including the Green Globe System and the Energy Star rating system. This Note analyzes the effectiveness of local governments that mandate LEED certification for their buildings, as well as whether state or federal control would be a preferable level of governance. Ultimately, this Note recommends that local municipalities should create different standards for public and private building development that would incorporate the LEED Green Rating System, thus maximizing the effectiveness of the initiatives, while preventing some of the increased cost associated with such programs.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.