One of the more interesting debates in the green building industry relates to the LEED and Green Globes rating systems.  When parties or governments decide to regulate green building, they must choose between green building rating systems.  GBLU has discussed Washington, D.C.’s incorporation of the USGBC’s LEED rating system into its Green Building Act.  What rating system does D.C.’s neighbor, Virginia, prefer? 

During the 2008 legislative year, the Virginia General Assembly tried to decide which green building rating system is most appropriate for Virginia.  In the House of Delegates, Senators J. Chapman Peterson and Toddy Puller introduced bill, S.B. 447, the Green Building Act, on January 9, 2008.  As introduced, S.B. 447 required that departments, agencies and institutions “ensure” that construction of “state-owned buildings” 10,000 square feet or less “comply” with the LEED Silver standard.

After being introduced, S.B. 447 was then referred to the Committee on General Laws and Technology, where it emerged in a different form.  The Committee’s amendment to S.B. 447 eliminated the Division’s involvement and instead included an alternative green building rating system: “Green Building Design means . . . the USGBC’s LEED building rating system or the GBI’s Green Globes building rating system.”  The amended S.B. 447 passed in the Senate, 39-0, but died in the House of Delegates’ Committee on General Laws.

But this wasn’t the end of green building regulation in Virginia in 2008.  In a future post, we will discuss how Governor Tim Kaine was ensnared in this green building debate.  A similar debate is occurring in cities and states throughout the country and even at the federal level.  The winner of this important debate will shape the future of green building. 

Photo credit:  Ian Britton