This paper summarizes the findings of a study on green building policies that affect state funded, owned, or leased buildings. The original study was commissioned by Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) and resulted in recommendations for how best to encourage green building in State of Georgia facilities. While the ultimate purpose of the research effort was targeted at making recommendations for the State of Georgia, valuable information was garnered from the individuals who were generous with their time and provided information about the green building programs from their states. From this information, useful lessons can be concluded which have general applicability for all states and other public sector organizations interested in pursuing green building efforts.
Interviews with key stakeholders from state agencies in nine of the eleven states that had formal green building policies at the time the study was conducted provided data that was essential to capturing lessons learned from those who have experienced LEED and other green building mandates within their organizations. The information collected during this interview process has been captured in the form of case studies summarizing the green building programs in the nine states that were assessed, and this paper presents a summary of common attributes and lesson learned across those cases.
The paper presents a framework to describe how green building programs evolve in public agencies. The framework includes four major components: Inspiration—a phase that includes knowledge, awareness and persuasion that encourage adoption of a green building policy or practice; Motivation—a stage in which a formal or informal policy is developed to shape agency actions toward meeting green building goals; Implementation—where programs are developed to support the activities needed to meet the goals of the policy; and, Evaluation—where compliance with policy requirements and assessment of program performance is undertaken. These four elements provide a structure for mapping the different ways in which organizations have approached creating a green building program. The paper also discusses inhibitors (opposition to LEED certification, cost impacts and resistance to change) and enablers (presence of strong champions, capitalizing on external motivators, and stakeholder support) that affect the success of state-level green building policies.