Green Buildings Act

Summary: The Green Buildings Act adopts LEED standards for the construction or renovation of public buildings over 5,000 square feet in size.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act shall be called the “Green Buildings Act.”

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

(A) FINDINGS—The [legislature/council/commission] finds that:

1. Energy costs for public buildings are skyrocketing and will likely continue to increase.

2. Energy use by public buildings contributes substantially to the problems of pollution and climate change.

3. Public buildings can be built and renovated using high-performance methods that save energy costs, preserve the environment, and make workers and students more productive.

(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to more efficiently spend public funds and protect the health and welfare of [State/city/county] residents.

SECTION 3. GREEN BUILDINGS

After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:

(A) DEFINITIONS—In this section:

1. “Department” means the Department [of General Administration].

2. “LEED silver standard” means the United States Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating standard referred to as silver standard.

3. “Major facility project” means:

a. A building construction project larger than 5,000 gross square feet of occupied or conditioned space; or

b. A building renovation project when the cost is greater than 50 percent of the assessed value and the project is larger than 5,000 gross square feet of occupied or conditioned space.

4. “Public agency” means every state office, board, commission, committee, bureau, department or public institution of higher education.

(B) GREEN BUILDINGS STANDARDS

1. All major facility projects of public agencies shall be designed, constructed and certified to at least the LEED silver standard. This provision applies to major facility projects that have not entered the design phase prior to October 1, 20XX.

2. All major facility projects of a public school district, where the project receives any funding from the state capital or operating budget, shall be designed, constructed and certified to at least the LEED silver standard. This provision applies to major facility projects that have not entered the design phase prior to January 1, 20XX.

3. All major facility projects by any person, corporation or entity other than a public agency or public school district, where the project receives any funding from the state capital or operating budget, shall be designed, constructed and certified to at least the LEED silver standard. This provision applies to major facility projects that have not entered the grant application process prior to January 1, 20XX.

4. A major facility project does not have to meet the LEED silver standard if:

a. There is no appropriate LEED silver standard for that type of building or renovation project. In such case, the Department will set lesser green building standards that are appropriate to the project.

b. There is no practical way to apply the LEED silver standard to a particular building or renovation project. In such case, the Department will set lesser green building standards that are appropriate to the project.

c. The building or renovation project is an electricity transmitter building, a water pumping station, or a hospital.

(C) ADMINISTRATION AND REPORTS

1. The Department shall promulgate such regulations as are necessary to enforce this section. Those regulations shall include how the Department will determine whether a project qualifies for an exception from the LEED silver standard, and the lesser green building standards that may be imposed on projects that are granted exceptions.

2. The Department shall monitor and document ongoing operating savings that result from major facility projects designed, constructed and certified as meeting the LEED silver standard and annually publish a public report of findings and recommended changes in policy. The report shall also include a description of projects that were granted exceptions from the LEED silver standard, the reasons for exceptions, and the lesser green building standards imposed.

3. The Department shall create a green buildings advisory committee composed of representatives from the design and construction industry involved in public works contracting, personnel from affected public agencies and school boards that oversee public works projects, and others at the Department’s discretion to provide advice on implementing this section. The advisory committee shall make recommendations regarding an education and training process and an ongoing evaluation or feedback process to help the Department implement this section.

(D) PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY—No person, corporation or entity shall be held liable for the failure of a major facility project to meet the LEED silver standard or other standard established for the project as long as a good faith attempt was made to achieve the standard set for the project.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

This Act shall take effect on July 1, 20XX.


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