November 17, 2011

Open or Proprietary Green Standards?

"The fact that green building codification has been left to mature with private sector advocates testifies to a failure of public leadership. If governments now simply nod toward one of the existing rating systems in toto and say, “Me too,” they will create some shiny golden apples for the chosen system. Governments will better serve the cause of green building if they develop a set of prescriptive standards that act impartially toward existing private rating systems, freeing private-sector advocates to complement one another’s efforts in pushing the green frontier."  Full Article on GreenSource.

California has taken leadership in this regard by publishing CalGreen, the state's mandatory green code.  But CalGreen, like LEED, is an additional layer of regulation that makes up for failures in the IAPMO and ICC model plumbing-, mechanical-, and building-codes.
California's CalGreen perpetuates a double-standard in building regulations by having three tiers of requirements.  The bigger cities are enforcing the upper tiers, making LEED-equivalent the worst-allowable construction.  Smaller jurisdictions may require a weak local Green Building Regulation as an alternate to CalGreen.