August 1 2009

Top Green Building States

by jim

Green Living

Looking to move to a green home state, or wondering if the state where you currently live is green-home friendly? Data released by the State Environmental Resource Center (SERC) reveals which states have adopted green building legislation – and some of the findings may come as a surprise.

To start, we need to define some of the terms cited within the report. The data used two specific organizations to measure each state’s green friendliness; first, The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System; second, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The former encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of various tools and criteria, while the latter promotes energy efficiency through a model code system.

So, which states are to be praised for showing deference to the aforementioned systems? First up, those states who offer tax incentives for green buildings in compliance with the LEED rating system: Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. The higher the LEED rating, the more the tax credit. What’s more, two of these states, Maryland and Massachusetts, also offer tax incentives for green buildings that don’t check themselves with against the LEED ratings; so long as builders meet certain green criteria, a tax credit is still there for the taking. One additional state that passed similar legislation is New York.

NABH Green Homes

In some cases, there is no tangible reward for building green; many states are now requiring that certain structures abide by strict environmentally-friendly guidelines. Primarily, buildings that are subject to the mandates are those funded either partially or in full by the state itself; so, imposing green regulation on these specific buildings is not infringing on the rights of private citizens. In addition to many of the states listed above, states that have adopted these policies include Arizona, Connecticut, California, Georgia, Maine, Ohio, and Washington. Again, this does not affect private homes; however, green buildings affect communities in a positive manner, whether they are intended for round-the-clock living or not. 

How about that IECC system? This may come as a surprise: As far back as 2003, Kansas became the first state to designate the IECC as the thermal efficiency standard for new commercial and industrial buildings. While this did not specifically address residential homes at the time, common sense dictates that the newly built dwellings in Kansas may one day follow suit.


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