Rockland County, New York, is a suburban county on the coast of the Hudson River, located about 12 miles north of New York City. Rockland is one of 24 municipalities in New York State to be designated as a Preserve America Community under the federal government’s Preserve America Program which is administered by the National Park Service and allocates federal grant money in order to preserve the country’s natural, historic, and cultural resources. Rockland has many lakes, wetlands, and designated park areas, and the county is promoting green initiatives in order to preserve the rich scenic environment in which it is situated.
Rockland County’s ordinance is grounded in environmental, public health, and fiscal considerations. The County realizes the importance of preserving the environment through energy conservation and use of renewable resources, as well as the opportunity to save money spent on energy costs when buildings are designed more efficiently. Additionally, there are benefits to the public health when both indoor and outdoor air quality is improved through the use of Green Building techniques. The ordinance applies only to government buildings and facilities, and it mandates that all “major facility projects” (and project with a total cost of $1 million or more) must be designed and constructed to meet a minimum LEED Silver standard. Construction can continue to completion without getting official certification from the USGBC, but there is a “good faith” standard applied to all developers that they will meet the requirements for certification. However, the County Legislature does have the power to waive the requirements of this law if it determines that the benefits of a particular project will outweigh the need for strict adherence to the statute, so long as the project made a good faith attempt to at least substantially comply with the law.