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New Green Subdivision Would Be Connecticut First

Connecticut Law Tribune

February 21, 2011

Federal, state and local governments want to encourage the construction of “green” buildings and offer incentives to reward developers that do a good job. But how do you define “green” and who certifies the truly earth-friendly projects? Land use lawyer Timothy Hollister, of Shipman & Goodwin, explains.

In 1992, the federal government launched the Energy Star certification program for computers, monitors and household appliances. Since then, the program has been expanded to provide certification of new homes that are tightly built, well-insulated and energy efficient.

Later, a coalition of design professionals, officials and builders created the national Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) standards, with the first projects appearing in 2000. These focused on commercial and public buildings; residential construction was a secondary consideration.

Finally, in 2008, the National Association of Home Builders launched a standard for green building that focused exclusively on residential construction. Today, Hollister is representing housing developer By Carrier Inc., in the first Connecticut green subdivision project, an 83-home development on 212 acres in Berlin.

It is pledging to attain top “four-star” rating as a development, with the homes qualifying for gold level certification under the new National Green Building Standard, or NGBS. Going beyond traditional building codes, the standards rate the project’s use of land features, recycled materials, alternative power sources, water conservation and interior air quality. Hollister, a distinguished advocate for affordable housing developments, spoke recently about the new green standards with Senior Writer Thomas B. Scheffey.

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