By Derek Newberry, Advocacy Fellow

An article from the USGBC National site recently highlighted Arlington County, VA, for their commitment to improving their constructed environment. Arlington got a head start by updating their Green Building Incentive Program and adopting LEEDv4 a year before the “sunset date” for LEED 2009 project registration.

Starting on October 1, developers had to begin seeking certification under “v4,” the latest version of the LEED green building rating system. Arlington implemented these higher environmental standards because they align with the County's Community Energy Plan. Their framework has set a specific milestone for the energy performance of new buildings, which notably ensures that energy efficiency is an ongoing priority.

A business-friendly option

Arlington County moved to LEEDv4's baseline with the aim to incentivize higher levels of energy efficiency. Officials pointed to the importance of incentives in overcoming barriers, such as split incentives between developers and future tenants or owners.

“Arlington's voluntary green building incentive program is a business-friendly option designed to speed the transformation to green and energy efficient construction,” said Arlington’s Green Building Program Manager, Joan Kelsch. “Arlington’s move to LEED v4, with a specific focus on energy efficient design and performance, is the newest tool available to guide that transformation.”

These laudable green building benchmarks established by Arlington County raise the bar for energy efficiency expectations across the nation. Towns & cities in Massachusetts should follow Arlington's lead, and lead the charge of raising the green building standard for the US and the world.

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