Under the El Paso, Texas sustainable development design standards, the City mandates that all city buildings meet green development standards and provides significant monetary incentives for private developers to do the same. El Paso has over 600,000 residents, and the climate is arid and warm with limited precipitation. The City recently started a sustainability campaign culminating in the “Green Summit 2009,” which presented the sustainable development design standards.
El Paso mandates that all new city owned buildings over 5,000 sq. feet and future major renovations shall meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification level. Under the program, no building permit for a city-owned building will be issued until the architect or designer has certified that LEED standards are being addressed in the plans or specifications.
Additionally, the City adopted an aggressive Green Building Grant Program to encourage the development of energy efficient buildings in the private sector. The City received substantial monetary damages from a court proceeding against a utility company in an electricity-rate case. El Paso then adopted the grant program to allocate the funds towards energy conservation in the community. Grants under the program range from $50,000 to $400,000, depending on the LEED certification level achieved and the size of the building.