Municipal Law Databases
Local laws intended to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions have recently proliferated as part of a municipal-level response to climate change. Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has prepared databases of many of these municipal laws relating specifically to green building, solar energy, wind energy, and energy efficiency.
The nationwide database of municipal green building laws applying to public buildings can be downloaded here.
The nationwide database of municipal green building laws applying to private buildings can be downloaded here.
To better understand the development of a model green building ordinance, this working paper by Marne Sussman discusses the different choices made by the municipalities that developed the ordinances identified in the spreadsheets and notes areas of consensus among municipalities.
The New York State database of municipal green building, alternative energy and energy efficiency laws can be downloaded here.
The New York State database is sorted by county, but it can also be sorted by subject matter or municipality. Each statute is classified as a green buildings, solar energy, wind energy, or energy efficiency statute. A total of 372 laws are currently catalogued in the database. To avoid an unwieldy structure, only the most essential portion of each statute is summarized. In almost every case, the statute has provisions additional to those provided in the database.
The database of local green building incentives can be downloaded here.
This database is sorted by incentive type and can be sorted by jurisdiction name. The database places incentives in the following categories: density bonuses and variances; expedited permitting processes; fee reductions and waivers; grants; loans; rebates; tax incentives; and technical and material assistance. This paper by Jessica Wentz summarizes the findings in the local green building incentives spreadsheet. This database is the basis of a forthcoming memorandum regarding local green building incentives.
For all databases, the user can access the unabridged statute by clicking on the hyperlink, identified by blue, underlined text, provided with each statute citation. Most links lead to the municipality’s entire code database. From here, the user can easily access the relevant portion of the code by referencing the citation given. Some links lead directly to the precise portion of the code in question, and navigating the code database is not necessary.
While the databases contain a substantial number of statutes, it is not currently comprehensive.
Follow updates to green building law from the Center's Green Building Law Update page.
SCCCL welcomes any additional information regarding New York state municipal laws related to climate change or corrections of existing entries in the database. Please contact ColumbiaClimate@gmail.com with additional information on green building laws in New York or other states.
Please also see the Gaining Ground Information Database maintained by the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School, which focuses on local land use ordinances. Columbia and Pace are working together on these issues.
SCCCL would like to acknowledge the efforts of the following individuals in compiling this database: