Thursday, December 13, 2007

City and County of Honolulu to Require All New Buildings to be LEED Platinum Certified by 2014

Bill 87, introduced by Councilmember Donovan Dela Cruz would require all new buildings to be LEED Silver certified by 2010, LEED Gold certified by 2012, and LEED Platinum certified by 2014. Presently, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu § 2-9.3 (2006), requires only county buildings to implement LEED Silver if doing so is not “infeasible or inappropriate.”

As I discussed in Energy Efficiency Building Requirements: Hawaii’s Regulatory Maze, private developments are already subject to myriad energy efficient building requirements, mostly through building codes adopted by the counties based on state energy efficiency requirements. Bill 87 would add one more layer of regulation which is not based on any study or analysis. Some questions that come to mind are (1) how does Bill 87 fit the exiting regulatory scheme in Hawaii, (2) whether the proposed legislation, which is an off-the-shelf ordinance used in a few other municipalities, will fit Hawaii’s market (i.e., cost of implementing the highest LEED certification, availability of building material, impact of higher building costs on affordable housing, et cetera), and (3) whether it is wise to export legislative drafting and compliance standards to the private mainland organization (USGBC) which owns the rights to the LEED standard.

On December 12, 2007, Bill 87 unanimously passed first reading and was referred to the committee on planning and sustainability (Gary H. Okino, Chair; Romy M. Cachola, Vice Chair; Todd K. Apo, Member; Ann H. Kobayashi, Member; and Rod Tam, Member).

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