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Green building standard becomes mandatory for more construction

40% of residential units approved last year must meet standard, compared to 26% the year before; standard to become compulsory in March 2022

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

View of new home being built in the southern Israeli town of Netivot, Janury 21, 2017. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
View of new home being built in the southern Israeli town of Netivot, Janury 21, 2017. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Four in ten building plans, representing 70,000 housing units, were approved last year on condition that they meet green building standards, compared with 26 percent in 2018, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced in a report issued Sunday.

In addition, 14,400 green units were completed, while another 15,500 were in the process of construction.

The Israeli Standard for Green Building (No. 5281) is aimed at making buildings more energy-efficient, cutting pollution, reducing construction waste, and promoting recycling and a circular economy in the materials industry, and in so doing reducing ecosystem damage.

Introduced on a voluntary basis 15 years go, the standard will become compulsory starting March 2022.

Some 70% of the green plans were approved by the Forum of 15, a group that represents 15 large cities and is led by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. The group decided to introduce green building standards in 2013.

But the fact that 30% were greenlighted by towns outside of the forum shows that the model is catching on more widely, if at a slower pace.

More than half of all plans that were approved in the Forum of 15 were based on the green building code, compared with just 24% in non-forum authorities.

The figures also show that 6.4 million square meters (69 million square feet) of non-residential building were approved on condition of meeting the green standard, of which 3.5 million were in Kiryat Ata near Haifa in the north, Yavne and Lod in the center and Netivot in the south.

Israel’s built environment, the human-made surroundings in which human activity takes place — is responsible for some 60% of energy use and 33% of polluting emissions.

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