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Is California's new green building code green enough?

California is poised to adopt the nation's first statewide green building code. Environmentalists praise the mandatory provisions of the code but fear it could discourage developers from building the most environmentally rigorous projects. That's because the state is setting up its own voluntary "CalGreen" rating system, which offers builders an alternative to the strict certification process of nonprofit groups such as the Washington-based U.S. Green Building Council and the Berkeley-based Build It Green.

Some businesses also are opposing a government-sponsored rating system.  "Rather than raising the bar, the tiered approach as defined in the draft code unfortunately provides unscrupulous builders and owners with an opportunity to describe their buildings as CalGreen Tier I or CalGreen Tier II without  having to substantiate their claims," asserted Michael J. Kirrene, president of the consulting firm Optimal Energy, in a letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger.

More than 50 California jurisdictions have based local green building codes on the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and they will be able to maintain their more rigorous ordinances. They include Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Culver City and Calabasas, among others. The state's code, expected to be adopted by the California Building Standards Commission on  Tuesday, would be a baseline for more than 500 cities and counties that have yet to green their codes. But new jurisdictions are free to pass more stringent regulations.  Read more.

-- Margot Roosevelt

Comments () | Archives (7)

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I think that California's new green building code can improve a lot with stricter regulation for the motoring industry.

There should be more greenproperty regulations!!!

How dare anyone question environmen groups? You must accept their self serving opinions without question ! I have been in the real estate industry for 30+years and have had cleints who used the green sidings,decking, foundations. Most of the NEW geen products have not been tested over time and don't really hold up!

Building codes that force people to use an untested expensive material is just plain STUPID! Environmental codes today increase the cost of home construction by 25% and have little affect.

Being GREEN is basically political correctness. That is allowing someone else to tell you how you must live your life.. People can think for themselves today and will generally do the right thing!

Being a lifelong carpenter in this state, and others,i embrace the "Green Movement " and i understand it ,probaby more than most people .Ive read books ,taken a green building course in college and know that anyone who is in construction is doomed for failure ,if they dont accept it .But i believe that this is the worst possible time to implement a green building code .

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Never "green" enough.
Green groups and regulators have to take responsibility for the collapse of the California housing market. Impact studies and mitigation fees accounted for 10% to 15% of development costs of residential subdivisions in the boom years of housing. True to form, eco-groups are never satisfied with even the most onerous of environmental controls -- they are no longer "good faith" stakeholders. State and federal green regulators, with the arrogance and impulse of progressive adolescents, are altogether too eager to continue to wreck our failing economy with punitive and unnecessary green regulations. Freeze all pending and proposed California environmental regulations, NOW! We cannot afford them.

Green roofs are common in many parts of the country. However, good luck getting a green roof permitted in Los Angeles. I was told by plan check to use astroturf. Yes, ASTROTURF. I thanked them and went on my way. The lack of coordination between departments is amazing! You think the LADBS is going to readily adopt a California-wide change when it can't even coordinate Building and Safety with Planning (witness the small lot ordinance)?! Maybe things will be different without Adelman at the helm....


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