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Pale shade of green

I knew next to nothing about the subject when I started to research green building practices, but that's part of reporting that I like -- learning things. One of the things I learned while doing the story is that there are a lot of people in the development community who still don't know much about green practices, at least when it comes to building to LEED standards, the benchmark by which sustainable buildings are judged.

Just about everyone says they're building "green." But most of the buildings going up around here are a pretty pale shade of green.

Some building owners, developers and architects get it. But many don't. They're working off old habits, outdated assumptions and indifference to the role commercial buildings play in global warming.

As a result, only seven buildings constructed in the region this decade meet LEED standards.

Local government is not without fault. A growing number of local governments around the nation are building their own facilities to LEED standards, and encouraging, sometimes mandating, that the private sector do likewise. Local governments have toughened building codes and restructured development incentives to promote sustainable practices.

Here, only the county governments in Erie and Niagara have adopted LEED standards for the future construction of their facilities and, let's face it, counties aren't building much on their own these days.

School boards, in particular, is where the action is, Buffalo public schools in particular. The district is more than halfway through a massive reconstruction program involving upwards of $1 billion. And there's nary a LEED school to be found.

Here's three resources worth checking out:

Web site of the U.S. Green Building Council

Study of green building programs around the nation by the American Institute of Architects

Study of costs associated with building green by Davis Langdon

For the complete story, read Sunday's Buffalo News in print or online. There will be a follow-up story Monday on the handful of local success stories.


Economic Development | Green | Local Government
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