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LA's Got A Lotta Green Planned For You

This afternoon we attended a "stakeholder workshop" for the Los Angeles Green Building Program at DWP HQ downtown. The goal of the green building program is to reduce our carbon footprints and get everyone up to LEED standards. Woo-hoo! Council President Eric Garcetti (CD13) started off by regailing the standing room only audience with a tale of his travels through the Arctic Circle on a whale where he met Inuit women and learned about mercury (our notes are kind of sketchy here). After a few more speakers we finally got the deets on the building program from Walker Wells of Global Green. This is what we learned:

· All large projects (50 dwelling units or 50,000 sq.ft. of floor area) will be required to meet LEED standards at the certified level.
· Projects attaining LEED Silver certification from the USGBC will receive an economic incentive (waived fees?) and expedited processing through the entitlements and plan check process.
· An in-house team made up of representatives from all affected departments (LADBS, Planning, Transportation, Public Works, etc.) will be formed to oversee the expediting process.
· At several points in the approval process, verification of the project's compliance with LEED standards will be required.

One question raised by several in the audience was how do you ensure greedy developers actually comply with LEED standards after they've already received the incentives. Some sort of punitive measure or perhaps a public flogging seems in order. The whole program goes on for further discussion at the LABC Sustainability Summit, July 18th and then a formal adoption process beginning in September through the City's endless bureaucracy of committees, subcommittees and finally to the City Council. The thing may be finished in 2008.

Okay that's your daily lesson in public policy. Back to the nonsense.