A new Miami Beach, Fla., law requires builders of structures larger than 7,000 sf to either meet certain green building standards or pay a fee of 5% of construction costs.
The legislation is linked to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the city highly vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change. The law went into effect on April 1.
The 5% fee for a 7,000 sf house would be $87,500, at $250 for each square foot—a typical cost of a new home in Miami-Dade County. To avoid paying a fee, builders must achieve a LEED Gold rating or better.
Upfront costs may be greater for commercial and residential buildings that have solar panels, wind turbines, and specialized air conditioning and rainwater-harvesting systems. The law’s proponents point out opportunities for savings over the long term by building greener from using longer-lasting materials, less maintenance requirements, and energy and water savings.