USGBC Study on New Mexico’s Green Building Tax Credit
A USGBC case study reveals the ways New Mexico has been a leader in green building policy.
A new USGBC policy case study recounts a decade of green building policy leadership in New Mexico, a state that is probably better known for its green, red and “Christmas” chili sauces. But that reputation should change, because this state of barely two million people has been punching well above its weight class in the fight to improve the economy and the environment through cost-effective, energy and water-saving green buildings. Like other states in the early 2000s, New Mexico began exploring how building green could improve building quality and reduce associated costs and impacts. Albuquerque Public Schools and, separately, the City of Albuquerque, were early adopters of LEED as an instrument to help them achieve these goals. These actions by local governments and school boards paved the way for the statewide Sustainable Building Tax Credit (SBTC), first adopted in 2007, and most recently renewed in 2015. The SBTC supports the greening of many building types in New Mexico, including schools, and has yielded fantastic results. There are now more than 300 LEED-certified non-residential buildings in the state. In addition, there are nearly 3,000 LEED-certified residential units—nearly two-thirds of which have earned LEED Platinum certification.
The USGBC case study tells of this remarkable policy, its contexts and achievements. Early adopters like these jurisdictions, businesses and professionals in New Mexico have been essential to advancing the frontier of green building policy and practice. Central to the work has been USGBC New Mexico, its past and present leaders and its partners across the public and private sectors. Individually and collectively, they have sought to invest in a greener future while also reaping returns in the form of better classrooms, energy and water savings and higher-quality housing.
Many have learned from these early efforts and have continued to demand or reward building quality and sustainability in design, construction and operations. At USGBC, LEED v4 was launched to offer a better, more outcomes-oriented rating system that is both easier to use and is calibrated to today’s higher expectations for green building performance.
In addition, the Arc platform was launched as a sustainability performance measurement platform that is helping all buildings monitor green building outcomes during building operations and help them track toward LEED certification (or recertification).
First released on September 30 during the Albuquerque sustainable schools tour co-hosted by USGBC New Mexico (see a video about the event on KRQE news), the USGBC case study features a section on green schools. This was a fitting kick-off for this year’s Green Apple Day of Service initiative, spearheaded by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. Today, there are 39 LEED-certified K–12 schools in Albuquerque and 53 statewide. These are a small part of the more than 13 million square feet of LEED-certified commercial buildings space in New Mexico and the thousands of LEED-certified, mostly affordable housing units across the state.