Miami Beach law requires LEED certification

A new law in Miami Beach, Florida, requires contractors of buildings larger than 7,000 square feet to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications or pay a fee that is equal to 5 percent of the construction costs, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

The law, enacted April 1, requires contractors to build structures that use less energy and water. New structures larger than 7,000 square feet must also be LEED Gold certified. LEED Silver certification is required for new buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. LEED Silver is now required on all new Miami-Dade County-owned buildings.

The fee was set at 5 percent based on estimates of how much it typically costs builders to achieve a LEED certification. LEED Gold or Platinum buildings do not have to pay a fee. The fee for LEED Silver structures is about 3 percent.

Betsy Wheaton, the city’s environment and sustainability director, told the Miami Herald the city wants to build a fund specifically for sustainability projects like building permeable pavements and improving the beach’s tree canopy.

According to the report, the fines the contractors will have to pay will go into the city fund that will hopefully help the community go green.