First-in-the-Nation Green Building Standards Take Place in 2011

CALGREEN will require all new buildings in California to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible

Continuing California’s efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment, the California Building Standards Commission has unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory green building standards code (CALGREEN). It requires all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2011, these comprehensive regulations will achieve major reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, energy consumption, and water use.


“With this first-in-the nation mandatory green building standards code, California continues to pave the way in energy efficiency and environmental protection. Today’s action lays the foundation for the move to greener buildings constructed with environmentally advanced building practices that decrease waste, reduce energy use, and conserve resources,” says Governor Schwarzenegger. “The code will help us meet our goals of curbing global warming and achieving 33-percent renewable energy by 2020, and promotes the development of more sustainable communities by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and improving energy efficiency in every office building or public structure.”


CALGREEN will require that every new building constructed in California reduce water consumption by 20 percent, divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills, and install low pollutant-emitting materials. It also requires separate water meters for indoor and outdoor water use, with a requirement for moisture-sensing irrigation systems for larger landscape projects and mandatory inspections of energy systems (e.g. heat furnace, air conditioner, and mechanical equipment) for nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet to ensure that all are working at their maximum capacity and according to their design efficiencies. The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 3 million metric tons equivalent in 2020.


Upon passing state building inspection, California’s property owners will have the ability to label their facilities as “CALGREEN compliant” without using additional costly third-party certification programs. 


In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger directed the California Building Standards Commission (BSC) to work with specified state agencies on the adoption of green building standards for commercial and public building construction for the 2010 code adoption process.


Click here to learn more about CALGREEN.

First-in-the-Nation Green Building Standards Take Place in 2011

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