California's Sets Green Building Standards

California has new green building codes thanks to forward-thinking legislation. (Photo: Clinton Steeds [CC by 2.0]/Flickr)

California is one of the nation's most forward-thinking states when it comes to environmentally friendly measures. January 1, 2009 marked the start of the state's green building standards code that was adopted in the summer of 2008 by the California Building Standards Commission.

At the time of the code's adoption, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a press release saying, "this is literally a groundbreaking move to ensure that when we break ground on all new buildings in the Golden State we are promoting green building and energy efficient new technologies." Source: State of California

A variety of buildings will fall under this new code including any new state-owned buildings, public schools, hotels and apartment houses.

The green building standards code is 66 pages of definitions, requirements and goals. In the energy efficiency section, a building that exceeds the 2007 California Energy Code by 15% will meet the green building code. Other highlights include the reduction of potable water use by 20% and a requirement that 90% of regularly occupied areas have a direct line of sight to an outdoor area.

A kickoff meeting will take place on January 14, 2009 to help government agencies in the state prepare to meet the new green building standards.