In November 2009, Rhode Island enacted the Green Building Act (S.B. 232) requiring that public building construction projects 5,000 square feet or larger and public building renovation projects 10,000 square feet or larger achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification or an equivalent certification, such as High Performance Schools Standards, Green Globes Certification, or the International Green Construction Code.* This requirement applies to all public buildings, including school district construction and renovations that receive state funding for such projects, that had not entered the design phase prior to January 1, 2010. The rule applies to all renovation projects that involve 40% of the public building in terms of the size or the monetary value of the structure. Exemptions may be granted from this requirement if economic hardship is proven.
The Rhode Island Department of Administration was required to form a Green Buildings Advisory Committee to support implementation of this policy through education, training, and evaluation recommendations. The Department of Administration must also monitor and document ongoing operating savings resulting from this policy, and to publish annually a report of its findings and recommended changes to the policy.
* Rhode Island was the first U.S. state to adopt the International Green Construction Code.