West Hollywood is a notoriously high-barrier-to-entry marketplace for all things real estate -- home-ownership, income property-ownership and real estate development. This liberal-minded, forward-thinking, tree-hugging community created legislation last year that will preserve its exclusive and visionary reputation -- the Green Building Ordinance of October 1, 2007. Hold onto your LEED hats! -- this program is among the most innovative -- and restrictive -- green building programs in the nation.
Specifically, the program applies to all new development -- both residential and commercial -- as well as remodels for homeowners and landlords. The goals are to:
- Save energy
- Conserve water
- Reduce waste
- Add longevity and durability
- Protect natural resources
- Create a healthier living environment
The initiative, which includes measures to incorporate drought-resistant landscaping, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy efficient appliances and low VOC paint should have long-term side benefits of lower utility bills and improved air quality for all residents. In addition, any new public buildings will be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design).
The City of WeHo has been gutsy in implementing -- and enforcing -- these stringent building requirements. Developers and landlords will have no choice but to pass on their increased costs to buyers and tenants. Consumers, however, may absorb this premium with a smile -- just as they've embraced nicely-packaged, costly Method cleaning products and hybrid Lexus SUVs.
Always a bold leader, never a follower, the City of West Hollywood is indeed creating a model city for the future. To see how effective it's been, climb a bamboo stalk and take a deep whiff of the very clean local air!