California Passes Strictest State Green Building Codes in the US

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Despite budgetary problems over the past few years, California has imposed the strictest green building code standards that the country has.  The decision was made unanimously by the California Building Commission to integrate green practices into state construction codes, which is the first legislation of its kind on a state level.

The new CAL Green code will apply to residences, commercial buildings, and infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

Some of the areas which will be of a specific concern will be:

  • indoor plumbing that demonstrates 20% more efficient water use
  • a 50% reduction in construction waste to landfill sites
  • use of low-emitting flooring materials and paint
  • separate water meters for indoor and outdoor water use in non-residential buildings
  • imposes mandatory efficiency inspections of HVAC systems in non-residential buildings over 10 000 sq.ft
  • the upholding of more strict municipal codes, or to offer them to municipalities where applicable

Tom Sheehy, acting secretary of the state Consumer Services Agency and chair of the California Building Standards Commission upholds the legislation as a source of state pride for California.  However, some controversy has arisen due to possible confusion experienced by construction firms.

Yet, the code is intended to create a statewide green code without the need for third-party programs and the costs attached to them. The main differences between the state legislated CAL Green code and current third party point systems is a centralized source for information without the need for membership or consulting fees to private companies. This makes the code a more cost-effective means of attaining a greater return on long-term utility costs.

The code will be integrated with long standing and established local fire and safety codes to ensure an easy transition.

Read the one-pager that explains the CAL Green code here

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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.