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First in the nation: California adopts mandatory green building code

california building codeenergy efficiencygreen buildingsustainabilityU.S. Green Building CouncilUSGBC

California's first-in-the-nation mandatory green building code will help the state meet its tough curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and its goal of deriving a third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. "California continues to pave the way," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, praising the code adopted Tuesday by the California Building Standards Commission.

The code, which takes effect in January 2011, will require that every new home, commercial building and public structure reduce water consumption by 20% below the current code. It mandates separate water meters for indoor and outdoor water use in non-residential buildings. Large landscaping projects will have to install moisture-sensing irrigation systems.

The code will also encourage recycling by forcing builders to divert 50% of construction waste away from landfills. Materials must be low-polluting, as in paints that emit fewer volatile organic compounds. Inspections of energy systems such as heat furnaces and air conditioners will be mandatory in non-residential buildings over 10,000 square feet to ensure that all are working at maximum efficiency.

Environmentalists praised the mandatory elements of the code but opposed the code's voluntary CalGreen label, saying that it would cause confusion in the market. CalGreen labels could compete with the much stricter Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, which have become a national norm, they said.

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--Margot Roosevelt

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On USGBC-OC Committees, Certified CHEERS Rater, Green Point Rater...

A lot of controversy and fear between the independent 3rd parties who have come so far with their programs because of the lack in government leadership. It's important to remember that this is a good thing overall. There will always be room for certifications like LEED who are pushing the envelope and your wallet to be the greenest building known to man.

CalGreen gives cities a lot of flexibility to develop the best way to produce these green results. Some cities will train their own 3rd party verifiers, others will use HERS Raters, Build it Green's Green Point Raters and so on.

This is still such a new field and only good will come of it.

The energy efficient real estate retrofitting sector will be one of, if not the top, economic boosts we get in California over the next 10 years. This is going to be a MASSIVE source of new jobs, productions, technology and business models that can be sold around the world.

Off gassing doesn't occur with paint exclusively. Interested to find out any word on the code's requirements for commercial textiles.

Is the state of California mandating residential energy inspections? I had heard that all homes were going to require an energy inspection at the time of sale.

Ok A shallow quick fix..Make companies cleanup after them self .What is your plan on this ...1 Billion fluorescent lamps are disposed of every year globally.

That's 50,000 pounds of mercury waste. It takes only 4 mg of mercury to poison 7,000 gallons of water.

Enough mercury to pollute every gallon of water in the US & Canada.

70% of the nations electricity comes from the dirty coal burning plants.
Average Return On Investment (ROI) is 30-50%.

Energy savings averages 50-80%.

Lifetime of a fluorescent is 20-30,000 hrs; LED is 100,000 hrs.

No maintenance on re-lamping. The storage of bulbs, replacement parts, and the logistics involved are hidden costs to any re-lamping project.

Are There LED Light Replacements For Energy Hungry Halogens ?
Your average 12v 50w halogen turns 90% of the electricity it uses into heat and only 10% into light. This means that halogen down lights are extremely inefficient. Halogens also use transformers which themselves use between 10w & 15w, so your standard halogen is using about 60 watts. Many people believe that Halogen lights are very energy efficient because they are often referred to as “low voltage lighting”.
Although they are low voltage (12V) this doesn’t mean they consume less electricity.
The coil inside the globe gets so hot the it glows, and that is what creates the light. You can think of Halogens as little toasters in your roof, burning up energy. Halogens can be a fire hazard because they get so hot, and they will also make your air conditioner work harder (which uses more electricity and costs you more).
We have a range of LED Down lights to replace energy hungry halogens. LED Down lights last between 20 and 50 times longer than traditional halogens (LED''s lasting for 50,000 hours would last for an amazing 24 years, if used for 6hrs/day 365 days a year). LED Down lghts use only around 10% of the power of halogens and provide up to 85% of the light output.

Can I Use LED Lighting in my Old Fittings?
LED lights are designed to replace your existing lighting. This means that you can simply replace your old halogen down lights with our LED down lights or replace your old globes with our LED light globes.
So don''t worry LED lighting is designed so you won''t have to change anything and you can install it in seconds. Take for example the ATG LED BULBS, it fits straight into your old fitting and you save money.

Energy costs are skyrocketing and are negatively affecting the industrial, commercial and residential areas of society.

Businesses and individuals are faced with increasing concerns over electrical energy availability and costs as well as climate change and global warming.

Many corporations are now focused on reducing energy usage both for cost savings and to display social and environmental responsibility.

Electrical energy is by nature inefficient – delivered with friction, heat & resistance. As a result there is decreased efficiency and reduced life of equipment.

I agree with Justin's comment. Landscape irrigation accounts for most of our household water usage, and implementing greywater recycling systems would have us headed in a more efficient direction. Great reporting as usual, Margot!

More ways for the state to screw us. I think we should put labels on all environmentalists, so that we the people can quickly identify them and iradicate them.

Landscape irrigation accounts for up to 70% of household water usage, which is mostly what is to blame for our water shortages nationwide. Poor water management by individuals. Homes should begin implementing greywater recycling systems for their landscapes. This would dramatically reduce our household water consumption and eliminate the problem. check out

This is a great follow up to Monday's story. Thank you. However, I am interested in the claim that USGBC standards are "much stricter" than CALGREEN.

Have you seen any comparisons to quantify the claim? If a building is built to CALGREEN Tier I standards, where would it sit on the LEED scale, if its even on there at all?

Thank you for your continuing coverage of this important story.

Way to throw more cold water on the already-sodden ashes of the state economy.


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