ATLANTA — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 announced the release of the Sustainable Design and Green Building Toolkit for Local Governments (Toolkit). The Toolkit was developed collaboratively by the agency’s Regional Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Division and Water Protection Division and Pollution Prevention Office, with support from the EPA Green Building and Smart Growth Programs, the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response’s Innovations Workgroup, and many external partners. The Toolkit is designed to assist local governments in identifying and removing permitting barriers to sustainable design and green building practices. It provides a resource for communities interested in conducting their own internal evaluation of how local codes/ordinances either facilitate or impede a sustainable built environment, including the design, construction, renovation, and operation and maintenance of a building and its immediate site.
The Toolkit contains an assessment tool, a resource guide, and an action plan for implementing changes to the permitting process. The assessment tool is designed for local governments to review their permitting process and identify barriers or resistance to sustainable design practices. The assessment offers a green/yellow/red progress indicator for the user. Green indicates that the community is doing well in encouraging sustainable design through its codes and ordinances. Yellow indicates that there is room for improvement within the existing permitting process. Red indicates that the community may want to identify the cause of the barrier(s) and remove it from the process.
The resource guide contains links to existing organizations and documents that will help communities learn more about each category in the assessment tool. Additionally, the resource guide provides users with information that can aid in making codes and ordinances more compatible or supportive of sustainable design and green building. If green tools or techniques are not permitted or encouraged, this information can help local governments implement changes to allow these techniques.
The action plan section will help communities develop their own tailored approach for implementing the necessary regulatory and permitting changes to allow for more sustainable design and green building practices.
The Toolkit can be downloaded at www.epa.gov/region4/recycle/green-building-toolkit.pdf.