The City of Santa Monica is now offering expedited plan checks and financial incentives for environmentally friendly buildings that have been registered for certification under the LEED Green Building Rating System.

LEED certification is a nationally recognized certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“While there have been a number of green buildings built in the city, we have seen little activity in the for-profit development community,” said Greg Reitz, advisor for the City of Santa Monica Green Building Program.

“We expect that to change as we make it easier for developers to make the commitment.”

The City of Santa Monica surveyed city residents and developers.

Of residents who responded, 93 percent said they believe buildings should be healthier and more energy-efficient.

Of developers who responded, the majority asked for expedited plan checks and financial incentives to encourage them to build “green” buildings.

Any project that registers for LEED certification and provides proper documentation will be given first priority for plan checks in Santa Monica.

Priority plan checks have the potential to shave weeks off of the approval process, Reitz said.

Buildings eligible for expedited permits are also eligible for grants of $20,000 to $35,000, depending on the level of LEED certification.

Reitz hopes the combined incentives, along with the demand in Santa Monica for “green” buildings, will result in an increase of activity in the private sector to build these buildings.

Information, City of Santa Monica Green Building Program, (310) 458-8549 or

www.smgreen.org

Information, U.S. Green Building Council or LEED certification, www.usgbc.org

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