However, because of unique geographic needs and challenges, as well as fluctuating economic conditions, the status of Green Building in the United States has varied.
Green Building and the U.S. Economy
Since green building standards are mostly voluntary, there has been much concern about LEED projects being on the “chopping block” as contractor’s search for ways to improve its bottom line.
While it’s not responsible to report that the green building industry is abandoning ship in the wake of some recent economic concerns, it’s definitely a concern and a hurdle to an industry trying to get off the ground.
It seems the opposite notion exists as well, or in other words, that the cost-savings associated with green buildings are only recklessly foregone. Not only that, but from a recent McGraw-Hill study, despite the down economy, green building remains on the upswing, and the study predicts that green building will triple in the next five years.
Green Building in Louisiana & Resources
In September 2008, New Orleans City Business Magazine reported that in New Orleans, Louisiana, “Green Building Standards Are Not Always A Worthy Option.” According to the article, because of the mild-winters in Louisiana and the benefits of building elevated structures, achieving a LEED Certification in the Big Easy is oftentimes a waste of money.
As evidence of the unattractiveness of LEED Certifications, the article also notes that even as New Orleans earns a reputation as a hotbed of sustainable building, they city ranks fifth from the bottom based on how many LEED projects have been completed.
This presents a interesting paradox for green building in Louisiana.
On the one hand, the article notes some skepticism of the LEED Certification process as it relates to construction projects in Louisiana, and the state’s LEED rank speaks for itself.
On the other hand, however, since Hurricane Katrina non-profits and green building organizations have swarmed into the city with hopes of “rebuilding” it green. As examples, see Global Green’s Rebuilding New Orleans project, the Brad Pitt Make It Right project, and even a sustainable development consulting agency in the city, Future Proof.
Determining the “status” of green building in Louisiana, therefore, is a bit difficult. The city is clearly a hotbed for sustainable development conversations, but it appears green building practices have yet to penetrate into the mainstream rebuilding of the city.
Green Building in Washington & Resources
The “Green Building” topic is much more mainstream in the State of Washington. Not only are LEED Certifications topics of conversation in relation to private construction projects, but in 2005, the state went so far as to mandate green building standards in the erection of certain new public structures.
The mandatory green building requirements have now begun penetrating into the private sector, as well. For the 2009-11 state budget, nearly all construction projects receiving state mony will have to build to LEED Silver standards, which is the 3rd highest ranking of the U.S. Green Building Council.
The strict requirement will clearly lead to more green building in the state of Washington, as non-profits who rely on state money (and those that do not) have already adapted to green building standards at an impressive pace.
While there are only 3 LEED properties in Louisiana, there are 113 in Washington, and another 650+ registered according to the DJC Green Building Blog.