California adopts mandatory green building standard
SACRAMENTO — California has become the first state in the nation to adopt a mandatory green building standard — CALGREEN — requiring all new buildings to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible, according to a press release.
According to the release, the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted CALGREEN, comprised of comprehensive regulations to achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water use, to go into effect January 2011.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: "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 new home, office building or public structure."
Prior to the adoption of CALGREEN, six environmental and non-profit certification groups — including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council — wrote a letter opposing the proposed code, saying it would be "a setback for California''s leadership on green building," according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the story, more than 200 architects, engineers and builders e-mailed Schwarznegger in opposition of the CALGREEN label, saying it is less thorough than third-party certifications would be open to conflicting interpretations and be unenforceable by local building inspectors.
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), said that while CALGREEN might not be as thorough as third-party systems, "it is a heck of a lot better than anything we have now."
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