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Following Industry's LEED: Municipal Adoption of Private Green Building Standards

Sarah Schindler

University of Maine - School of Law

June 23, 2009

Florida Law Review, Vol. 62, pp. 285-350, April 2010

Local governments are beginning to require new, privately constructed and funded buildings to be “green” buildings. Instead of creating their own, locally-derived definitions of green buildings, many municipalities are adopting an existing private standard created by members of the building industry: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This Article explains and assesses the privately promulgated LEED standards. It argues that the translation of LEED standards, which were intended to be voluntary, into law raises several theoretical and practical problems. Specifically, private green building ordinances that rely on LEED do not ensure a reduction in the negative local environmental impacts of buildings, nor do they provide any assurance that those standards were created through a legitimate process. The Article concludes by offering an alternative approach, suggesting that municipalities should instead enact green building ordinances that have been promulgated by public governmental bodies, rather than private, industry-based organizations, and done so locally, taking into account specific local building-related and environmental concerns.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 66

Keywords: Sustainable Development, green building, LEED, energy, building, municipal, land use, ordinance, zoning, legitimacy, efficacy

JEL Classification: K11, K32

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Date posted: June 24, 2009 ; Last revised: September 15, 2013

Suggested Citation

Schindler, Sarah, Following Industry's LEED: Municipal Adoption of Private Green Building Standards (June 23, 2009). Florida Law Review, Vol. 62, pp. 285-350, April 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1424587

Contact Information

Sarah Schindler (Contact Author)
University of Maine - School of Law ( email )
246 Deering Avenue
Portland, ME 04102
United States
207-780-4409 (Phone)
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