Cities with Green Building Programs Up 418%

By Preston Koerner
Jetson Green
November 28, 2007

Since 2003, the number of cities with green building programs has risen from 22
to 92, for an increase of 418%. This figure, as well as others below, comes as
a result of a study commissioned by the AIA. Their newly published report,
Local Leaders in Sustainability, analyzed 661 communities’ best practices,
strategies, and trends, and provides recommendations for cities that are looking
to implement green building programs.

1 in 7 cities surveyed currently have green building programs
Number improves to 1 in 5 by next year with current projections
39% of citizens live in cities with green building programs
36 cities are in an advanced stage of developing a green building program

Case study excerpts:

Portland offers income tax credit for green building and projects for energy
conservation, recycling, renewable energy and cleaner fuels. The Oregon Dept.
of Energy has awarded 13,000 tax credits of 35 percent of eligible project costs.

San Francisco established Generation Solar program to amend the code and
streamline the process for solar permitting in residential applications.
Program provides assistance with design and installation and has resulted in
nearly 600 solar installations city wide.

Scottsdale was first city to mandate LEED Gold for municipal buildings. In
2005 one-third of all new single-family permits adhered to green building
standards with 1,123 green single-family and 20 multi-family homes having been
completed as of 2007.

Chicago has more LEED registered projects than any other U.S. city. Their
Green Roof Program offers $5,000 grants to help with the planning and
installation of green roofs, and as of 2006 there were over 250 public and
private green projects in place, being designed or under construction, which
amounts to approximately 3 million square feet.

Austin established the first green building program in the country. A climate
protection plan will have city buildings running on 100 percent renewable
energy by 2012 and completely carbon neutral by 2020.

Atlanta had the most LEED buildings per capita in the country in 2006. Their
EarthCraft Communities program is a community guideline that emphasizes
walkability, environmental site plan development, and an overall integrated
planning approach.


Hire a director of sustainability within the mayor’s or permitting department
to coordinate multiple departments to develop the most well rounded program.
Train and accredit municipal employees on the rating systems that will be used
by the community.

Include all professionals in the design and construction industry when
developing a green building program to work in a collaborative manner.
Maintain consistency in requirements and standards throughout the community.
Investigate far-reaching sustainability initiatives including green purchasing
programs, hybrid fleets, and streamlining the solar permitting process.
Contact local AIA chapters for the insights of architects who serve on their
respective Committee on the Environment and who have been involved in
developing local green building programs.

The AIA has developed a SustAIAnability 2030 Tool Kit to assist cities that are
interested in implementing green building programs in their community, and in
early 2008 will be issuing 50to50 –- a range of 50 sustainable design principles
that can help achieve a 50% reduction in project fossil fuel consumption.
Thanks to the depth of information available in this report, straggling cities
out there now have all the tools and information to get going in the right direction.


Promoting Green Building Design, Construction and Operation, Sustainable Living,
Clean Technology, Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Independence