Should states force cities to go green? (Nashville)

Should states begin exerting more authority over their individual municipalities?

This was the question posed to panelists Thursday at the Environmental Law and Policy Review, sponsored by Vanderbilt University Law School and The Environmental Law Institute.

Author Sara Bronin, an associate law professor at the University of Connecticut, cited the the profound energy consumption and emissions of buildings as an impetus for states to become more involved in both local land-use policy and green-building standards.

“We have to build buildings that require less energy and water,” she said, adding that 40 percent of America’s carbon-dioxide emissions come from buildings.

Bronin recognized that some cities have stepped up to the plate — including Boston, where all private buildings over 50,000-square-feet large must be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and Nashville, where all Metro buildings must be Silver LEED-certified. In addition, she said, about 25 percent of all government buildings across the country must be built to a green-building standard.

This, however, is insufficient, Bronin said.

Read the full story in the Nashville Business Journal.

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