Dallas to implement citywide green building program
The new ordinance, developed by a Green Building Task Force comprised of members from both commercial and residential sectors, aims to reduce energy and water consumption for new construction. The group recommended implementation of the ordinance in two phases beginning in 2009.
Phase 1, to start Oct. 1, 2009, focuses on energy efficiency and water conservation for commercial and residential developments.
The mandatory commercial measures will affect all buildings. Structures less than 50,000 sq. ft. must be 15 percent more efficient than the base energy code (2006 IEC), use 20 percent less water than required by EPAct 1992, use cool roofs for slopes of 2:12 inches or less and meet outdoor lighting restrictions.
Buildings larger than 50,000 sq. ft. must achieve 85 percent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified level compliance, including one point for water efficiency and a minimum of two points for 14 percent more efficiency than the base energy code under the energy and atmosphere credit.
Commercial building owners also must agree to allow utility companies to release annual consumption data to the city.
For residential construction, the first phase requires that homebuilders construct their homes to be 15 percent more efficient than the base energy code and meet four of six strategies to reduce water usage in faucets, showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, clothes washers and outdoor irrigation.
Phase 2, beginning Oct. 1, 2011, expands the initiatives for new construction into a comprehensive green building standard requirement.
Within Phase 2, all commercial projects must be LEED-certifiable under the appropriate LEED rating system, including one point for 20 percent water-use reduction and a minimum of three points for 17.5 percent higher efficiency than the base energy code.
Phase 2 also requires all homes to be built to either the LEED standard, the Green Built North Texas standard or meet an equivalent minimum green building standard certified level, in addition to achieving points toward water-use reduction and achieving a minimum of 17.5 percent more efficiency than the base energy code or the equivalent approved standard.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert pointed out that his city leads major U.S. cities in passing comprehensive building standards for both commercial and residential construction. “We had industry come in and really embrace it. We crafted it to make sense for everybody,” he said.
The city plans to establish a Green Office and partner with the local U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) chapter to train staff and building inspection teams who will implement and monitor the program. In turn, the staff will promote education and awareness among industry and public groups.
Donny Mack, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas, noted that the mandate will affect consumers. “We support efforts to create a better-built environment and accept the responsibility that every industry, and now every home, must share to help the region reach its air quality goals,” he said.
LEED, developed by the USGBC, is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.