Green building policy advancements are being made in all 50 states, according to a study recently released by the USGBC. The report, “Advancing Green Building Policy in the States: 2011 Victories from Alabama to Wyoming,” is available for download through USGBC’s website.

“This report is a goldmine of creative approaches to driving a green economy where super efficient buildings become the norm rather than the exception,” says Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law for USGBC.

This year, USGBC has been tracking more than 400 pieces of state legislation and the report highlights 30 wins for green building across 22 states. According to the report, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Washington made advancements to unlock financing for energy efficiency and green building, and in Alaska, California, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, legislations and regulations have helped advance improved mandatory minimums through building codes. In addition, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont each considered legislation to advance building energy rating and disclosure.

Among the highlights listed in the report:

  • HB 1160 in Colorado provides incentives to homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and purchase highly efficient new homes as documented by recognized green building rating systems such as LEED. 

  • Connecticut’s Public Ace 11-80 (formerly HB1234) established the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority to authorize private capital for clean energy projects and provide a one-stop-shop for addressing energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

  • In Idaho, Jan. 1, 2011 was the effective date of an updated commercial and residential building energy code for all local jurisdictions.

  • Illinois introduced a new report on the viability of green schools—“Moving Toward a Sustainable future for Illinois Schools—developed by the Illinois Working Group on Green Schools in association with the state chapter of the USGBC.

  • In Maryland, Chapter 135 of the Public Safety Code (formerly HB 630) established a method for the state to incentivize high-performance homes, including LEED for Homes projects achieving at least a LEED Silver rating, and Chapter 369 of the Public Safety Code (formerly HB 972) enables the adoption of the International Green Construction Code by all local governments in the state.

  • New York’s state legislature passed AB 8510, which creates a revolving loan fund and on-bill financing program for property owners to access loans for retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades by repaying loans with savings earned on utility bills.

  • North Carolina’s SB 709 includes the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

  • Two bills in Oregon reorganized the state’s energy tax credits and create tax credits for commercial construction or retrofit projects that achieve high standards for building energy efficiency with LEED Platinum certification as an accepted compliance path. HB 2960 allows the state to repair and retrofit aging schools to help create healthy environments and reduce operating costs.

  • In Washington state, the passage of HB 2020 allows schools to take advantage of a paid-from-savings approach to energy efficiency through energy savings contracting.


To download the full report, visit usgbc.org/government.