You’ve read the play on words: LEEDing the wayIn the LEEDLEEDership … and even LEEDigation.  In an address to a room full of contractors, suppliers, and (a few) attorneys on Thursday afternoon, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) said that the state is committed to being a leader of sustainability in the South: "Honestly, I think we need to lead the wave of green."

Is Tennessee a LEEDer in the South?

Ramsey was the keynote speaker at the annual convention for the Associated General Contractors of Tennessee. His animated address focused on the pro-business initiatives throughout the state.  Ramsey said that Tennessee has traditionally been rated within the top three states in the country, alongside Texas and North Carolina, for its pro-business environment.  Ramsey also took the opportunity to publicly announce key appointments to various committees in the Senate.

During the Q&A session, I asked the Lt. Governor about the future of green building/alternative energy in Tennessee and where these issues fell with respect to his pro-business focus.

Ramsey smiled, commenting that as a "conservative Republican" most people would not imagine him "pushing green [programs]."  Ramsey then highlighted two major businesses that manufacture and build alternative energy solar products (Hemlock Semiconductor Group and Wacker Chemical) that have recently committed to investment in Tennessee.  The Lt. Governor also suggested that certain initiatives through the State Building Commission could help Tennessee lead the "wave of green" in the future.  In the end, Ramsey maintained his conservatism: "I’m not for more government regulation."  Instead, he suggested that results could be achieved through incentives and other programs.

While the Lt. Governor of Tennessee sees the state as being a "green leader" in the South, I am not sure it will be the "green LEEDer" until there exists a state-wide green building code.  And right now California stands alone on this issue.