As energy costs rise, more states and cities are adopting policies that encourage or require new construction to be energy-efficient.
That's according to the U.S. Green Building Council, a private group that tracks legislation and sets guidelines that become construction industry standards. The council says nearly three times as many cities and counties approved green-building policies last year as did four years ago.
A record number of states - 14 - took such action last year, as compared with one in 2004, according to the council. So far this year, at least eight states and 22 localities have endorsed green policies.
The council attributes the trend to higher energy costs and climate-change concerns. Buildings account for 40 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions. Many of the measures require new government buildings to meet the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Others give commercial builders incentives, such as tax breaks and expedited permits. A few policies, such as one in Maryland's Baltimore County, give tax credits to builders for green construction of homes.
Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oklahoma and South Dakota enacted laws this year requiring that new, large state buildings meet LEED standards.