Green Zoning: Using Local Zoning to Achieve Community Energy Efficiency & Resiliency

In many states around the country, the increasing efficiency required by building energy codes is one of the few ways to reduce building energy usage from one code cycle to the next. However, building energy codes are only updated every three years and sometimes take longer to be adopted at the state level. Long adoption cycles often result in building energy reduction falling behind state carbon reduction goals.
Green zoning gives communities the ability to craft local zoning ordinances that emphasize investment in more energy-efficient buildings, curb GHG emissions on the local level, and promote quality of life benefits. Green zoning is the use of zoning bylaws and ordinances to address sustainability, green building, and resiliency. The practice employs various strategies that promote the local context of zoning through:
  • Overlay Districts
  • Specialized Performance-Based Standards
  • Resiliency and Energy Reduction 
  • Green Building Standards 
  • Prescriptive Energy Efficiency Compliance
  • Flexible Energy Efficiency Compliance

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