According to the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose leaders are meeting to consider whether or not to make the same environmentally sound building policies that now apply to all city buildings applicable to private developments too.
In 2001 tough green standards were adopted for all city buildings, which were made even tougher this March. Now, all public buildings over 10,000 square feet must meet the silver certification level under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. This program rates a building based on its energy usage, water efficiency, and use of green building materials. The ratings are basic, silver, gold, and platinum.
The developers of the former San Jose Flea Market site have already been held to this standard, however, many developers worry that costs will be prohibitive. Some leaders are also concerned that this will have a negative effect on the economy.
Proponents of the green initiatives counter this argument by saying that the savings in water and energy costs will offset the upfront costs over time. There are also considerable incentives built into the current laws to help offset some of these upfront costs.
But developers argue that they will no longer be in the picture when the real cost savings are delivered.
It will be interesting to see how this one will play out.