The Montgomery County Council today is expected to approve legislation that would encourage builders to include energy-saving and pollution- reducing features in future developments.(How about that? Hayduke linking to the Washington Times.)
Called the "Green Buildings" bill, the legislation would make the county one of the most environmentally clean metropolitan areas in the nation.
"This is my most major initiative of my last year as council chairman," George Leventhal, at-large Democrat, said during a press conference yesterday.
Later yesterday, the council's Transportation and Environment Committee began working out details of the bill.
If approved, the Green Buildings legislation could take effect in a year and would apply to new and public buildings of 10,000 square feet or more.
I said it before and I'll say it again: Where's our green building law?
Despite what you may think, the specifics of such a law shouldn't be that hard to iron out. The U.S. Green Building Council already has standards for what classifies as a "green" building, as do (ahem) other groups. Using these criteria as a foundation, we would only need to tweak a few things to fit the unique circumstances in our county and figure out whether green building requirements should be mandatory, voluntary with inducements, or something in between.
What's more, USGBC is also working on standards for green neighborhood development, which would be really great to include in our efforts. Note that MoCo and DC fail to include private residential development in the green building laws, an oversight (or, more likely, compromise) that I do not support. If we really want green buildings and design to have an impact, we have to apply the standards as widely as possible. Including residential buildings and neighborhoods in the law is only sensible.
So, new County Executive and Council members, what say you? DC and MoCo have set the bar. Do we raise it?
Thanks to David Keelan for sending the article my way.