California Adopts New Green Building Code

The US' first state-wide mandatory green building code was adopted earlier this month by the state of California, as announced by its Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This code, called the Green Building Standards Code - or CALGREEN - will come into force in January 2011. It will ensure that all of the state's new buildings have to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Governor Schwarzenegger outlined the code's aim: “The code will help us meet our goals of curbing global warming and achieving 33% renewable energy by 2020 and promotes the development of more sustainable communities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency in every new home, office building or public structure."

CALGREEN will require large non-residential buildings (over 900 m2) to have audits of energy systems including furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners to ensure that systems are operating to their maximum efficiency.

New buildings will also need to reduce their water consumption by 20% and divert 50% of construction waste from landfill.

CALGREEN will also include a number of voluntary provisions designed to encourage new buildings to be more energy efficient and conserve natural resources.

Energy efficiency is indeed the number one cost-effective solution to reducing emissions and saving money on energy bills, according to Ken Cheyne, Council Member of the Energy Saving Association: "This new code is a great initiative because it imposes energy efficient measures on public buildings, in order to achieve a broad impact on reducing carbon emissions. Saving energy also implies saving on energy costs, which will not be negligible for business owners, especially with the constant rise of energy prices."

The California Air Resources Board estimates that the new code will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an equivalent of 3 million metric tons of CO2 by 2020.

Sunday 31st January 2010

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