Mayor Ralph Becker wants to reward developers for meeting green-building standards by speeding them through Salt Lake City's building-permit process.

Becker plans to sign an executive order later this month that outlines the expedited review process for projects that meet or exceed the silver level of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. The incentive also will apply to homebuilders who achieve an ENERGY STAR rating.

Building official Orion Goff presented the plan Wednesday night to the Salt Lake City Planning Commission.

"This incentive we're providing for developers is a big step in the direction the city wants to go with our overall sustainability program," Goff said.

Under the plan, building-permit applications that meet the program's green-building standards would be moved to the front of the line in the city review process. Projects typically have a six- to eight-week waiting period between when an application is submitted and a building permit is issued, city officials said.

Becker is expected to sign the order before the end of August. The expedited plan-review process is slated to begin within 60 days of the signing.

Becker's plan is the latest example of Salt Lake City's ongoing commitment to energy conservation through green building.

In June 2005, then-Mayor Rocky Anderson signed an executive order requiring that all city-owned public buildings be built or renovated at the LEED certified level, the program's lowest ranking. Six months later, that mandate was boosted to the silver standard, again by executive order.

The next step was requiring all new buildings and major renovations of 10,000 square feet or larger to meet LEED's silver standard in order to receive city funds. The City Council enacted the change by ordinance in October 2006.

LEED is a third-party certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council, with four levels of certification — certified, silver, gold and platinum. It's the national benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green building.

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy focused on saving money and protecting the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.


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