Nelson Symposium Explores Many Implications of Going Green for Local Governments
UF Law students and faculty, state and local government agency representatives and building contractors gathered to discuss the many implications of “Going Green” to improve the environmental landscape for future generations. The Seventh Annual Richard E. Nelson Symposium featured a diverse panel of speakers from law and related fields to explore the construction of green building, its positive impact on the environment and its implications for state and local governments.
The conference, entitled “Green Building: Prospects and Pitfalls for Local Governments,” examined topics including the legal landscape of green building, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and other certification programs, the state of Florida’s climate change initiatives and private environmental lawmaking.
Green building construction is an integrated design that is environmentally responsible, profitable in the long term and creates a healthy place to live and work. This high performance building construction helps to alleviate our carbon footprint caused by making everyday decisions that increase greenhouse gas emissions, Bahar Armaghani, assistant director at UF’s Facilities Planning & Construction Division, said.
When analyzing state and local climate change initiatives it is important for government agencies to be on the cutting edge. Kristen Engel, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law professor, urged government agencies to be proactive in the race to become green.
“State and local governmental don’t just need to reduce emissions, they need to push ahead of technology,” she said. “State governments should mandate the adoption of better technologies.”
This is the seventh symposium honoring Richard E. Nelson—who served with distinction as Sarasota County attorney for 30 years—and Jane Nelson, two UF alumni who gave more than $1 million to establish the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law, which sponsors the annual event. Their support of the Levin College of Law’s Environmental and Land Use Program has been key to the program’s success and national recognition for excellence.