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Posts Tagged ‘Carbon pollution’

USGBC urges preservation of greenhouse gas measure

USGBC has submitted a public comment urging the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to keep in place the current greenhouse gas (GHG) measure for federal highways. This message came in response to a proposed rulemaking that would repeal the measure, which requires state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations to monitor on-road vehicle emissions and set targets for improvement.

The GHG measure applies to state and metro area transportation agencies that receive federal funding and is one of a suite of performance measures. The current rule does not impose any specific limit, but rather identifies on-road vehicle emissions as among the metrics appropriate for evaluating overall transportation system performance.

DOT initially suspended the GHG measure, which eight states then challenged in a lawsuit. Notably, each of the states—which included California, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—argued that they have the duty to protect their residents from the adverse effects of climate change. California, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, cited its own legislatively mandated targets for emissions reductions, as well as the state’s particular vulnerability to the consequences of high GHG emissions.

The built environment, which encompasses transportation systems and commercial, residential and industrial buildings, was responsible for 60 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2015, according to the U.S. EPA. Tracking these emissions is essential to making our cities and states more livable, healthy and green—especially since you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

LEED strongly supports GHG emission reduction through innovative and mindful design and implementation, including LEED credits that offer incentives to accommodate non-motorized modes of transportation and green vehicles, as well as rewarding strategies that provide access to reliable public transit.

USGBC will continue to monitor all transportation performance-measure rulemakings, in order to support ways for society to measure and understand externalities imposed by our built environment.

DOT metrics rule could help reduce carbon pollution

Published on 28 Apr 2016Written by Alysson BlackwelderPosted in Advocacy and policy

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a notice seeking public comment on a proposed rulemaking concerning performance metrics for states and regional organizations that receive federal funding. As our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) capably explained, the proposed rule is one of several aimed at improving the performance of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. USGBC appreciates that DOT has raised the possibility that states and regional organizations measure how projects such as roads and public transit systems would contribute to carbon pollution—and will be urging the agency to follow through with this concept in the final rule.

DOT is seeking comment on whether planners in the transportation sector should take into account carbon pollution to set standards to implement the 2012 transportation law “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” or MAP-21. The law requires transportation planners to consider and use performance-based measures that track and reduce carbon pollution, minimize fuel consumption and protect and enhance the natural environment.

Such a requirement would contribute to more informed transportation decisions, and would be a key step on the road to more sustainable transportation infrastructure. The green building community understands that location matters, affecting both occupant behavior and environmental performance. Indeed, LEED v4 elevates the importance of site selection with the new Location and Transportation (LT) category, dedicated to encouraging thoughtful decisions about building location, including alternative transportation and connection with amenities—features which act to reduce the total life cycle environmental impact of occupant transportation.

Several cities and states have already adopted requirements to take into account carbon emissions when developing transportation plans, including ChicagoSeattlethe Twin CitiesCaliforniaMassachusetts, and Oregon. Over a third of carbon emissions in the United States come from the transportation sector, so this comment period is a great opportunity for interested parties to weigh in with their support. The notice was published in the Federal Register on Earth Day, April 22. Stay tuned for additional information on how to comment.

Alysson Blackwelder

Project Manager, Advocacy and PolicyU.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Chemline, Inc. is a member of The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has the potential to provide LEED points.