Last week, Green Building Law Update questioned whether governments should be requiring LEED certification through regulations and mandates. Assuming governments should get out of the green building certification business, what then should governments do to support green construction strategies? There are generally two options, one of which we will discuss today: green building codes.
Green building codes essentially incorporate green building strategies into construction codes. By incorporating green building strategies into code, governments can not only mandate the strategies they deem most important but also avoid the costly and time-consuming certification process.
Apparently, not everyone agrees with me. Shari Shapiro first brought my attention to the fact that the committee constituting the “Proposed Standard 189: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings” recently disbanded. Proposed Standard 189-P was supposed to serve as a minimum green building code.
A committee composed of members from ASHRAE, the USGBC and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) had been put together in 2006 to work on the standard. But on October 14, 2008, the committee was suddenly disbanded and the reasons remain unclear:
Several committee members discussed the move with EBN, all of them speaking off the record, either because they were unauthorized to speak by the organizations they work for, or did not want to jeopardize their chances to rejoin the committee.
Discussing resistance from various industry groups, including steel, gas and utilities, wood, and building owner interests, one committee member said, “We must have been doing a good job.” While those trade associations had specific complaints in some cases, in others they were unsupportive of ASHRAE’s involvement, as a mechanical engineering association, in a broad green building standard.
There are many nuances to creating a green building code, which we will discuss in future posts. Managing all of the associated parties’ interests is one clear impediment to proposed green building codes.
- A Week of Epiphanies: I Don’t Mean to Diminish This But . . . (GBLU)
- The Death of ASHRAE 189? (Green Building Law)
- Uncertain Future for ASHRAE Standard 189 (BuildingGreen)