Washington state law calls for new public buildings to be green

Washington state will be the first in the nation to require new public buildings to meet green building standards, thanks to a bill signed last week by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) at Washington Middle School in Olympia. Said school is due for a remodel that will meet the standards, set by the U.S. Green Building Council, by incorporating new fixtures and thoughtful design to reduce water usage, optimize natural ventilation, and cut down on the need for artificial lighting. State officials say green buildings could save public agencies some 20 percent in water costs and 25 percent in energy costs. They also estimate that green schools and offices could result in a 15 percent reduction in absenteeism and up to a 26 percent spike in test scores, in part because increased natural light and ventilation are thought to reduce sick days. Says Washington Middle School eighth-grader Ian Lindgren, “If somehow a building could raise test scores, that would be cool.” Indeed.