Building design and construction have a tremendous impact on the natural environment, our economy, and the health and productivity of occupants. The built environment is effecting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and ultimately contributing to global warming. The energy used to heat, cool and light buildings, as well as the energy used in their construction, generates more greenhouse emissions than either transportation or industry. Buildings contribute anywhere from more than a third to nearly half of all green house gas emission in the United States.
LEED for County Buildings
As part of the Energy & Environmental Policy, all new County buildings (>10,000 square feet) under the County’s Capital Project Program shall be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Certified at the Silver Level. LEED is the certification standard of the U.S. Green Building Council; buildings are certified for performance under these design and construction categories:
• USGBC LEED
Green Building Ordinance
The County has developed a Green Building Ordinance to establish green building techniques into the construction of new projects. Green building techniques are intended to conserve energy, protect natural resources, conserve water, divert waste from landfills, minimize impacts to existing infrastructure, and promote a healthier environment.
Low Impact Development Ordinance
The Low Impact Development (LID) ordinance requires major projects to incorporate LID Standards (LIDS). LID is a land planning and engineering design approach to managing storm water runoff. LID emphasizes conservation and use of on-site natural features to protect water quality. The LID design is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is being promoted as a method to help meet goals of the Clean Water Act. This approach implements engineered small-scale hydrologic controls to replicate the pre-development hydrologic regime of watershed through infiltrating, filtering, storing, evaporating and detaining runoff close to its source.
Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Ordinance
The Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Ordinance establishes minimum standards for the design and installation of landscaping using drought-tolerant and native plants that require minimal use of water.
The ordinances will become effective on January 1, 2009 and will apply to the construction of all new projects. For more information regarding the County’s Green Building Program go to: DRP | County Green Building Program