USGBC Releases Advocacy Agenda

USGBC Releases Advocacy Agenda BALTIMORE, MA - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Maryland announced its 2010 Advocacy Agenda in advance of the 427th session of the Maryland General Assembly, which begins on January 13, 2010. USGBC is a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

The need for green building has been created by the staggering impact that buildings have on the environment. Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, and 13 percent of water consumption, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity.

Through the following six initiatives of the 2010 Advocacy Agenda, USGBC Maryland welcomes the opportunity to educate our policy making public officials and to help establish Maryland as a frontrunner in green building and sustainable practices.

GRAYWATER RECYCLING SYSTEMS. Water reuse strategies, including the use of rain water, are a key component of water conservation. Such measures are necessitated by the lack of potable water in some areas and overloaded sewerage treatment plants in other locales. Enact legislation prohibiting local governments from banning the use of Graywater by local codes.

ENERGY LABELS. Buildings use 74% of all electricity in the U.S. The Maryland government can raise awareness of the need to reduce energy use by requiring that all government (state and local) buildings measure and publicly post their respective Energy Star rating.

GREEN ROOFS. New government buildings in Maryland are currently required to be green and achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certified rating. Require those buildings, and any roof replacement on existing buildings, to have no less than 50% green roof coverage (a vegetated roof or appropriate reflective white roof). Such measures can be incorporated in a cost effective manner.

EXPAND GREEN BUILDING PROGRAM. To reduce building operating costs, expand the existing State green building law to require that all construction on State owned or leased land achieve a minimum of LEED Silver or equivalent certification. Require that all capital projects funded with state money (in any amount) meet the same requirement. Expansion of the existing Act beyond wholly state-owned and funded buildings will reduce building operating costs and help achieve the State's energy and carbon emission reduction goals.

STATE RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDIT. By 2022, 20% of Maryland power must be from renewable sources. Require that 20% of those Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) purchased by utilities in Maryland and 25% of solar RECs be derived from sources within Maryland. This will stimulate the production of renewable energy in Maryland and create green jobs.

HEALTH CARE - GREEN BUILDING. Expand the existing State green building laws to require that construction of hospitals funded with state money, whether in part or in whole, achieve a minimum of LEED Silver or equivalent certification. Require that the State's policy for the Certificate of Need include specific requirements according to the LEED standards, as appropriate.

Rex Wright, chair of USGBC Maryland, said, "Maryland has been a leader in green building, but there is more than we can do and should do."

He went on to report, "This Agenda is the product of months of work by representatives of more than 600 member businesses and organizations. We believe this Agenda can provide sustainable goals for the 2010 General Assembly session."

Details on each of these initiatives and the complete USGBC Maryland Advocacy Agenda 2010 can be found at www.usgbcmaryland.org

USGBC Maryland. A chapter of the U. S. Green Building Council, (USGBC), and 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices, our membership is composed or organizations and individuals from across the building industry that are working to advance structures that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.

USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, including the Maryland Chapter, more than 20,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 131,000 LEED Accredited Professionals. USGBC is the driving force in an industry that is projected to soar to $60 billion in 2010.
Source: US Green Building Council, Maryland Chapter

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