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      City has plan to stimulate green construction

      USC's Green Quad was one of the first green residence halls in the United States. / Sara Jane Harris
      The city of Columbia announced a new Green Building Incentive Program Tuesday designed to stimulate green building construction in the area.The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and provides financial incentives to those who construct to green building program standards."We appreciate very much the support of the mayor and the support of Columbia City Council to allocate some of the stimulus funds to fund this first time in our state green building initiative," said Ann Sinclair with the Climate Protection Action Campaign.Officials said the amount of the incentive will vary based on the cost of the project and the level of green certification. There are several guidelines to be eligible for the Green Building Incentive Program:- It cannot be a government project, nor otherwise be required by law to meet green building standards. - Projects must be completed and third party verified before December, 2012.- Commercial projects must be built to LEED certification; one or two-family projects must achieve certification from one of five national residential green building program standards.

      City leaders said funding comes on a first come first serve basis.

      The new Green Building Incentive Program is the latest in a series of sustainability initiatives that the City has implemented, including the City TMs Climate Protection Action Committee, the annual Green is Good for Business Conference, a citywide energy audit and subsequent lighting upgrade, and Green Business and Congregations membership programs.

      For more information on the Green Building Incentive Program, interested parties should contact Robert Harkins at the City TMs Planning and Development Department, , (803) 545-3427 or download an information package from .