The year 2017 brought many state and local advocacy successes, and USGBC thanks our members, partners and volunteers across the United States who made them all possible. There are many great examples to choose from, too many to share in one article, but here are just a few highlights of our gains in 2017:
In Ohio, we celebrated the 300th LEED-certified K–12 public school in the state. Members also worked with the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati to renew their tax abatement policies for green homebuilding that have driven the development of many LEED for Homes projects.
In New Mexico, we published a new policy case study on the New Mexico Sustainable Buildings Tax Credit—an initiative that we hope to replicate elsewhere in the U.S. in 2018.
Our Michigan community supported the establishment of the Better Classrooms Caucus and a related package of bills on green schools was launched, building off our national work to promote green schools policy options for state lawmakers.
In California, we made a big commitment to regularly communicate our policy and advocacy work, such as through the monthly California Policy Corner that we started in April. We were also very proud to induct two additional leaders into our California hall of fame with our annual Green Hard Hat Awards.
Over in Nevada, we worked closely with our members and partners on a suite of clean energy bills that have paved the way for a bright green future in the Silver State.
Hawaii Governor David Ige signed several important pieces of legislation supported by USGBC, including a Green Special Fund for the University of Hawaii, as well as energy efficiency initiatives.
A building benchmarking ordinance passed in St. Louis, Missouri, with the help of a strategic partnership among USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter, the city and the City Energy Project.
In Kentucky, we worked with our members and partners on a successful advocacy campaign that ultimately stopped the rollback of the state’s building energy code. USGBC is also proud to partner with the state government to bring PEER training to the state in 2018.
In Georgia, the city of Atlanta continued to raise the bar by updating its High Performance Building Ordinance. This policy not only requires new city buildings to certify to LEED Silver standards, but it also requires existing buildings to certify under LEED v4 O+M on a rotating basis—another success that can be leveraged for similar policies across the county.
After three years of hard work, our members and partners in Maryland’s Montgomery County celebrated the county’s adoption of the International Green Construction Code. The new code maintains regional consistency by leveraging LEED as a compliance alternative. Plus, the County Council just adopted a zero carbon target for 2035.
As celebrated on the Greenbuild stage, Rhode Island has updated its Green Buildings Act to include sustainability standards for public lands with LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES; this makes it the first state to include SITES in its public policy.
Our USGBC communities in Pennsylvania partnered to host an icehouse demonstration to advocate for updating the state’s languishing energy codes. As expected, the block of ice in the building built to contemporary efficiency standards far outlasted the one in the building built to the state’s current code.
We’re also proud of the many localities making big strides to measure and communicate sustainability performance through LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities: the District of Columbia, Phoenix, Arizona, and Arlington County, Virginia, are a few of the early adopters.
USGBC is pleased to continue supporting community resilience in cities, states and territories across the country. Would you like to see one of these goals achieved in your own community in 2018? Reach out to the Advocacy team, and we can help you set up a plan.