Green Building Ordinance Released by Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

The Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School has released a model green building ordinance for use by municipalities looking to promote the construction and design of new buildings that make efficient use energy, water and materials. The model ordinance is designed to be readily adopted by local jurisdictions.

“With 40 percent of all energy consumed in the U.S. used by buildings, it is clear that a large part of the effort to mitigate the impact of climate change will have to come from efficiency gains in the built environment, particularly through the use of green construction, design and operating practices,” say Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law, and Andrew Sabin, professor of Professional Practice.

According to the announcement, current municipal green building ordinances vary widely in content, coverage and quality of drafting, and many small localities cannot devote sufficient resources to form a fully developed green building ordinance. To this end, the model ordinance compiles the aspects of green building ordinances nationwide, and is structured to avoid the legal pitfalls encountered by some municipal ordinances.

While designed for New York State municipalities, with minor revisions the ordinance can be readily adopted in other states, if not around the world, says Gerrard.

The model ordinance is available for download at the Center for Climate Change Law’s website.