Using Mandates and Incentives to Promote Sustainable Construction and Green Building Projects in the Private Sector: A Call for More State Land Use Policy Initiatives

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Title:
Using Mandates and Incentives to Promote Sustainable Construction and Green Building Projects in the Private Sector: A Call for More State Land Use Policy Initiatives
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Year: 
2008
Publication: 
Penn State Law Review
Volume: 
112
Issue: 
Start Page: 
731
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Language: 
English
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Abstract:

 

Earlier this year, the United Nations released Buildings and Climate Change, which reports that 30-40% of all primary energy is used in buildings. A host of other authorities have joined the U.N. in calling for green building standards, not only to conserve energy, but also to achieve more socially responsible real estate development. A discernable movement is now afoot for government to play a significant role in promoting green building projects. But there is not yet agreement on what that role should be. In particular, green building standards have not yet found their place within the realm of land use regulation. In the United States, land use controls are normally adopted, implemented, and enforced at the local level, where they are subject to local political influences that make it unlikely that municipalities alone will bring about the required green building revolution. And prospects for effective green building initiatives resulting from international or national sustainable development policies are dim due to the resurgent private property rights movement in this country. While the principles at stake are considerable, we must not allow deep philosophical, normative, and political battles over the more controversial aspects of sustainable development theory to retard progress on this matter of critical global concern. This article argues that timely, meaningful movement toward sustainability in the U.S. building industry requires state-level legislation that promotes, and sometimes even mandates, green building standards at the regional and local levels.

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