Los Angeles Mandates LEED For New Buildings

A new, aggressive ordinance would require all new buildings over 50,000 square feet in size to meet LEED building standards, part of a program to slash carbon emissions in the city by more than 80,000 tons by 2012.

A new, aggressive ordinance would require all new buildings over 50,000 square feet in size to meet LEED building standards, part of a program to slash carbon emissions in the city by more than 80,000 tons by 2012.

The ordinance will create a series of requirements and incentives for developers to meet the US Green Building Council’s Energy and Design (LEED) standards.

“Our City is growing fast and growing up, and we’re holding the private sector accountable to their commitment to be friends to our environment,” says Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Already the City of Los Angeles has the largest, most aggressive municipal green building plan of any large city in America. Now it’s time for green building to go private.”

The ordinance would reduce the City's carbon emissions by more than 80,000 tons by 2012, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road – surpassing any other major city in the country, according to Villaraigosa.

Under the ordinance, the City will require all projects at or above 50,000 square feet – or 50 units – to comply with the general LEED-certified standard. In exchange, the City will work with builders to speed up approvals and to remove obstacles in the municipal code for elements of sustainable building design, such as green rooftops, cisterns and permeable pavement.

If a builder commits to pursuing LEED silver accreditation, the City will add expedited processing through the Planning and Public Works Departments.

“This legislation puts Los Angeles squarely at the forefront of building green,” says Council President Eric Garcetti said. “With it we will clean our air, clean our water, preserve our land, and lead the fight against global warming.”

In addition to direct incentives, the initiative will require the City to train case managers as LEED accredited professionals and will create one-stop checklists of allavailable City incentives to guide developers through the green building process.

A new cross-departmental Sustainability Team will also be created under the program, generating a forum between developers and City staff to address issues arising on both a project basis and a policy level. Meeting regularly with the public, the team will file quarterly reports to the Mayor on the City’s progress in implementing the Private Sector Green Building Initiative.

“Given that greenhouse gas emissions from buildings account for more than 40 percent of global warming pollution, the Los Angeles Green Building ordinance is a good first step towards building an energy-efficient, climate friendly sustainable city, says Global Green USA President Matt Petersen. “While certainly not an end destination, it is important that Los Angeles has become the first big city to codify a private sector green building program.”

The Green Building Plan is part of the Green LA Plan which was unveiled in May 2007. That plan calls for the city to reduce its carbon footprint by 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The goal goes beyond the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol and is the greatest reduction target of any large US city.

Key Points of the Private Sector Green Building Ordinance

• Require that all new projects greater than 50 units or 50,000 square feet show compliance with the LEED Certified level.

• Expedite processing through all departments, if LEED Silver designation is met.

• Initiate an ongoing review of city codes to ease use of environmentally sound and superior materials and processes.

• Create a cross-departmental Sustainability Team to review and revise green building policies and specific projects. They will meet weekly so that the development community can enjoy ongoing interaction with City staff.

• Direct City General Managers and department and agency heads (namely Planning, Building and Safety, Public Works, Water and Power, Transportation, and CRA) to train and certify their staff in green building methods and policies and/or as LEED Accredited Professionals. This training should be ongoing and appear in each departmental annual budget.

• Work with the Board of DWP Commissioners to continue to add DWP financial incentives for projects that meet green building standards.

• Create and confer the Mayor’s Annual Award of Excellence in Sustainable Design & Construction to recognize exemplary efforts by individuals and companies in the private sector.

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  posted on 4/30/2008   Article Use Policy

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