The Washington, D.C. City Council unanimously passed legislation that would require all new buildings and substantial renovations in D.C. to be net-zero construction by 2026.
The legislation also bans most natural gas use in new buildings. Net-zero building codes would cover all commercial buildings, condo and apartment buildings, as well as single-family homes taller than three stories.
The Council also passed separate climate legislation that commits the entire city to carbon neutrality by 2045. Influencing this lawmaking, a study released earlier this year found that natural gas leaks around the D.C. are significant contributors to climate change.
The bill requires audits every three years, starting in 2029, to report the percentage of new buildings in compliance with net-zero requirements. Shorter term goals in the legislation include a 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2030, and District government-owned buildings going carbon neutral by 2040.
Mixed-Use | Jun 6, 2023
Public-private partnerships crucial to central business district revitalization
Central Business Districts are under pressure to keep themselves relevant as they face competition from new, vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods emerging across the world’s largest cities.
Multifamily Housing | Jun 6, 2023
Minnesota expected to adopt building code that would cut energy use by 80%
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is expected to soon sign a bill that would change the state’s commercial building code so that new structures would use 80% less energy when compared to a 2004 baseline standard. The legislation aims for full implementation of the new code by 2036.
Codes and Standards | Jun 2, 2023
Supreme Court drastically reduces wetland areas impacted by Clean Water Act
A recent Supreme Court decision that substantially narrowed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate millions of acres of wetlands is expected to open more land for development. More than half of the nation’s wetlands could lose protection under the Clean Water Act, according to environmentalists and legal analysts.
Affordable Housing | May 17, 2023
Affordable housing advocates push for community-owned homes over investment properties
Panelists participating in a recent webinar hosted by the Urban Institute discussed various actions that could help alleviate the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Among the possible remedies: inclusionary zoning policies, various reforms to increase local affordable housing stock, and fees on new development to offset the impact on public infrastructure.
Multifamily Housing | May 16, 2023
Legislators aim to make office-to-housing conversions easier
Lawmakers around the country are looking for ways to spur conversions of office space to residential use.cSuch projects come with challenges such as inadequate plumbing, not enough exterior-facing windows, and footprints that don’t easily lend themselves to residential use. These conditions raise the cost for developers.
Regulations | May 8, 2023
Supreme Court case likely to have huge impact on Clean Water Act
A case before the Supreme Court will likely determine how the Clean Water Act is interpreted and the ruling could open up new areas for development within or adjacent to wetlands.
Office Buildings | May 1, 2023
Office building owners face potential legal liabilities when adding new workplace amenities
Many landlords in the war for tenants have turned to offering new amenities such as conference room services, fitness centers with nutritionists, and high-end food and beverage offerings. To provide new services, landlords often engage with third-party vendors, which can present thorny legal liability.
Codes and Standards | Apr 21, 2023
Federal court overturns first natural gas ban in the U.S.
A recent ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco invalidating Berkeley, California’s ban on natural gas within new building construction puts similar measures adopted around the country in legal jeopardy.
Codes and Standards | Apr 21, 2023
Sixteen-year-old climate law not having intended impact on decarbonizing federal buildings
Sixteen years out from a 2007 law that aimed to end the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings, gas heat is still being installed within the federal sphere.
Multifamily Housing | Apr 21, 2023
Arlington County, Va., eliminates single-family-only zoning
Arlington County, a Washington, D.C., community that took shape in the 1950s, when single-family homes were the rule in suburbia, recently became one of the first locations on the East Coast to eliminate single-family-only zoning.