Conyers may be the first city to go live with anew green building ordinances mandating that all new residential construction and city government buildings 5,000 square feet and larger met earth-friendly specifications beginning January 1, 2009. The Conyers ordinance cites guidelines from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, and Atlanta-based EarthCraft as ways to enhance public health and welfare.
“The city finds that green buildings use key resources like energy, water, materials and land more efficiently than buildings that are just built to code,” the ordinance reads. “They also create healthier work, learning and living environments, with more natural light and better air quality, and typically contribute to improved employee health, comfort and productivity.”
The Conyers City Council will vote on the proposed green building ordinance on October 1.
The City of Atlanta is circulating its second draft of its own proposed green building ordinance. Construction of single family homes is excluded from the proposed ordinance, but will be included by later amendments and required by the year 2012. The Atlanta City Council is expected to vote on this first green building ordinance in mid-November and has plans to consider amendments within the next year. Here is a pdf of the proposed Atlanta ordinance.
Chamblee has already adopted a mandatory green building ordinance for all new construction of a commercial building, office building, industrial building, multiple residence or senior citizen multiple residence equal to or greater than 20,000 square feet of gross floor area space that will become effective after April 1, 2009.
According to the experts, green building ordinances add approximately 5% to design costs and 2-3% to construction costs, but the extra costs are recaptured in energy savings in the first three years.