“Four More Years!” State policymakers rack up wins for green building
Last week, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) gathered for their largest ever policy summit. The issues discussed varied from clean power plan implementation to clean water and indoor air, to healthy, high-performing schools. As a framework for addressing these and many other economic and ecology issues, green building was a central focus, too.
For years, state lawmakers and agencies have used the power of the pen and the purse to prioritize energy efficiency, healthy buildings and lower-impact development. Thanks to many of NCEL’s lawmaker members and allies, USGBC counts more than 220 state policy victories for green building since 2011 across all 50 states in a new report released at the conference.
New report released: Better Buildings, Better Policy
Better Buildings, Better Policy spotlights the most recent four years of green building policymaking that builds an even stronger foundation for tomorrow’s green building, healthy community, and clean energy economy. While typically used as a political campaign cry, “Four more years!” could be a shout heard from green building advocates today as we release this new library of green building policy in the states.
Nearly half of the policies captured in the new report establish or fuel a program or fund that is designed to accelerate the uptake of greener, more efficient building practices. The report also counts fifty (predominantly energy) code updates and an additional forty policies that leverage LEED as an instrument to drive greener building outcomes for the public or private sectors. Meaningful policy measures that advance investment in greener schools passed in 23 states.
In an address to the audience of nearly 200 lawmakers, USGBC Board Chair, George Bandy praised the hard work behind this new effort. His story – the son of a legislator and a southerner with an insatiable passion for business leadership on social and environmental issues – resonated with the nearly 200 lawmakers in attendance. He added that, in business as in policy, “Our success will only be realized when we move beyond doing ‘less bad’ to delivering restorative communities that give back to nature and provide for a healthier, more socially responsible world.”
Looking to the future
Speaking of USGBC’s work to promote green schools for all within this generation, Bandy continued, “It is with great hope, passion and humility that we continue to create a better future for “tomorrow’s child.”
The last four years of green building policymaking were by no means without challenges, but the overall story is one of profound progress and success. We are deeply grateful for friends, allies, advocates and believers who sustain this momentum and keep us all focused on the long road ahead. To these partners and to this long list of wins, I say, “Four more years!!”