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Note, Making it Easy to Be Green: Using Impact Fees to Encourage Green Building

38 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2007  

Benjamin S. Kingsley

New York University School of Law


Green building - the construction of buildings designed to minimize environmental impact and resource use - has become significantly more common in the past decade. Many local and state governments have enacted policies designed to stimulate green building. These policies generally include information provision and subsidies for private green development as well as outright greenness requirements for all government buildings. Despite this commitment from government and despite substantial evidence that green buildings are financially beneficial for private owners, the private sector has been very slow to embrace green building. This Note argues that barriers to innovation in the real estate industry have rendered ineffective these local government attempts to stimulate green building, and suggests that impact fees - fees imposed by local governments on land use development - will be more successful in pushing private real estate developers to build green. Although the use of these fees is subject to both state and federal constitutional constraints, an appropriately designed fee can maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of this proposal while also ensuring that the fees are constitutional.

Keywords: green building, land use, impact fee, impact fees, exaction, exactions, LEED, high-performance building, high performance building, energy-efficient building, energy-efficient building, green development, LEEDs, USGBC

Suggested Citation

Kingsley, Benjamin S., Note, Making it Easy to Be Green: Using Impact Fees to Encourage Green Building. New York University Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 2, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Benjamin S. Kingsley (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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