State is first to OK green building standards
Friday, July 18, 2008
California on Thursday became the first state in the nation to approve green building standards to cut energy and water usage, a move that officials say will help the state meet its ambitious goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan, adopted by the California Building Standards Commission, requires that all new construction - from commercial buildings to homes, schools and hospitals - reduce energy usage by 15 percent, water use by 20 percent and water for landscaping by 50 percent. A voluntary form of the code is scheduled to kick in on July 1, 2009.
"There is no statewide standard in the nation such as our green building standard," said commission chairwoman Rosario Marin. "In fact, we're the first one in the world, and we anticipate others to follow us."
The rules do not specify how to make the reductions, but ideas range from installing energy-efficient appliances and increasing natural lighting to using low-flow toilets and planting drought-resistant vegetation. The code will be voluntary while the commission works on a mandatory regulation, which the panel hopes to have in place by end of 2010 or beginning of 2011, Marin said.
Environmental groups and the California Building Industry Association applauded the 11-member commission's 10-0 vote Thursday to approve the standards as a good first step.