Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Virginia General Assembly Takes Step Forward on Green Public Buildings

Even through the GOP's war on women's rights down in Richmond, a few rays of sunshine are emerging from the smoke:
Today the Virginia House of Delegates unanimously passed Senator Chap Petersen's “Cost Effective” Public Buildings Act (SB160) which requires state agencies to use environmentally-friendly protocols, such as LEED design and recycled materials, in constructing or renovating state buildings.

"This bill is about saving taxpayer money. It does that by using natural light, conserving electricity and water and reusing materials in new construction. Using these techniques, we will save money," [said Petersen.]

SB160 will require new state buildings to achieve standards such as the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 'Green' and 'Silver' ratings. LEED buildings use modern technology to recycle materials, conserve energy and water, and lower operational costs. According to Petersen, LEED design techniques increase construction costs by 1-3%, but deliver immediate savings through cheaper utility costs.
Congratulations to Sen. Petersen for sticking with this effort through five frustrating years of inaction in Richmond, and congratulations to Virginia taxpayers, who (assuming Gov. McDonnell signs it) will start saving money soon.
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