Refining Green Building Regulations and Funding for Greenhouse Gas Reductions

In the article “Refining Green Building Regulations and Funding Green Buildings in Order to Achieve Greenhouse Gas Reductions,” published in The Urban Lawyer Burg Hupp gives an overview of the current green building policy in New York City and the proposed changes in the green building policy. The article first explores the benefits of green buildings as well as turning existing non-green buildings to green buildings through retrofits. Over a 20-year span of the retrofitted buildings, Hupp (2010) estimates 4-20 percent savings, even as it will cost 1-2% in the building’s upfront cost.  The review of the green building codes, according to Hupp (2010), stems from the fear that green buildings may not provide long-term energy savings, therefore the need to enact regulations requiring commissioning of the buildings every ten years.

The article mentions New York and Washington DC as the cities refining their green building codes, even as others, except Los Angeles, struggle with implementing the green building codes. At the core of the article is the need to not only have green building codes to ensure meeting the energy-saving purpose of the buildings, but also refine the codes to ensure long-term energy saving benefits of the buildings. The need to ensure green buildings live up to their reputation has therefore caused states to enter green building regulation, a reserve previously left to third-party green building verification. Among the forerunners of state regulatory involvement in green building regulations is California with the approval of CALGreen, which began work in 2015 making mandatory some hitherto voluntary measures for new residential and commercial buildings. Recent national and international development in green building see the implementation of both local and third-party verification, of which LEED is the most popular, even as other governments develop their own standards for adoption.

The article “Role of Green Building Congress in Promotion & Development of Green Building Concepts in India” published in MGS Architecture discusses development in green building in India; particularly the annual Green Building Congress. According to the article, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is at the forefront of spearheading green building construction in India. The organization came into form following the platinum rating of Cll-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad, creating new interest and impetus of the green building movement in the country.

The creation of the council, according to the article, has spearheaded green building projects in the country, where there were more than 2,000 green projects in 2013 registered by the council. The projects have included schools, townships, hospitals, banks, airports and colleges among others, which have adopted greening. According to the article, while there are initial increased construction costs of 2-5 percent for commercial buildings and 1 percent increase for residential buildings, the buildings give back through substantial reduction in operation costs.

With the creation of the IGBC came the annual Green Building Congress held in a different city each year. The Congress brings together stakeholders within the country’s construction industry who share, network and explore new business opportunities in green building. The Congress is also a platform where the stakeholders showcase new technologies in green building, including displaying new projects, building concepts and energy simulation analysis among others. The Congress additionally organizes competitions for students, with the intention of triggering creativity among students towards the construction and conceptualization of green buildings. Another part of the Congress is the Green Building Mission, which offers certification for green buildings in addition to allowing participants in the Congress to have a firsthand experience in green building concepts and technologies.

Erin Hopkins article titled “Barriers to adoption of campus
green building policies” published in the journal Smart and Sustainable Built Environment explores some of the barriers to adoption and implementation of green building policies in higher learning institutions within a sustainable environmental protection frame work. Hopkins (2016) asserts that the lack of adoption of green building policies is largely due to the barriers to adoption of the policies. The barriers essentially cause inefficiency leading to non-adoption of the policies in institutions of higher learning. Essentially, however, the barriers are only symptomatic of other sectors aside from the higher learning institutions.

Hopkins traces the genesis of the commitment of institutions of higher learning to environmental sustainability to the 1990 The Talloires Declaration as formulated by the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future. Signed by more than 350 university presidents and vice chancellors in more than 40 countries, the declaration is a show of commitment by universities to environmental sustainability, particularly through the green building initiative (Hopkins, 2016).

Hopkins used academic research to come up with a list of barriers to adoption. Among the barriers he discusses are lack of knowledge/awareness; lack of incentive; lack of champion for sustainable development policy; financial concerns; and occupant satisfaction concerns (Hopkins, 2016). The author, however, also offers some solutions addressing the barriers including shifting perspective; university targeting; campus planning; financial motivations; campus sustainability officer; and marketing green campus building initiatives as some of the remedial solutions to the barriers.

The need and advantage of green buildings is especially evident in all the three articles. With concern for global warming and therefore the need for sustainability in all aspects of human life especially buildings and their construction, which consume 40% of the world’s energy, 65% of all electricity and 40 percent of raw materials, green building is a step in the right direction towards environmental sustainability (Abair, 2008; Tam, Hao & Zeng, 2012).  The three articles highlight the importance of environmental sustainability, and prove that green buildings from the starting point towards the achievement of environmental sustainability.

One of the connection in the articles is the agreement on the high upfront cost of constructing green buildings. From the articles, construction of green buildings causes a 1-5 percent increase in the initial upfront cost of construction, a fact that discourages developers from green building construction. However, the articles are clear on the fact that the increased upfront costs extend more than 20 percent savings in the building operation, 2-4 years after completion.

Even as the articles agree on the benefits of green buildings, they differ in the fundamental issues they explore. Hupp’s article explores regulations in green building, as well as different verification, where while some use LEED, other cities and governments develop and implement their own standards. The article in in MGS Architecture discusses the Green Building Congress in India and its role in driving awareness and adoption of green building, as well as developing its own standards for green building certification.  On the other hand, Hopkins explores the barriers to adoption of green building policies in higher learning institutions, tracing the origin of the policies in addition to giving possible solutions to the barriers.

The articles essentially complement one another, even as they explore different aspects of green building. The verification standards and the implementation push my state governments in the U.S. inform on the development of green building standards in India, where LEED may not be practical. Further, the barriers to implementing the policies in higher learning institutions are not confined to the institutions, and the solutions can well be implementable across the board. With the three articles therefore, green buildings promise sustainability. Given the energy and raw materials’ exigencies of the construction industry, green buildings offer a viable step towards environmental sustainability. Additionally, while LEED is the de facto standard in green building, adopting home grown standards implementable within the particular setting present a more viable route in green building standards.




Abair, J. W. (2008). Recent developments in land use, planning and zoning: Green buildings: What it means to be “green” and the evolution of green building laws. The Urban Lawyer, 40(3), 623-632. Retrieved from

Hopkins, E. A. (2016). Barriers to adoption of campus green building policies. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, 5(4), 340-351. Retrieved from

Hupp, E. E. B. (2010). Refining green building regulations and funding green buildings in order to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. The Urban Lawyer, 42(3), 639-648. Retrieved from

Role of green building congress in promotion & development of green building concepts in India. (2013, Oct 31). MGS Architecture, Retrieved from

Tam, V. W. Y., Hao, J. L., & Zeng, S. X. (2012). What affects implementation of green buildings? An empirical study in Hong Kong. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 16(2), 115-125. Retrieved from