The California Building Standards Commission announced on Friday the unanimous adoption of a statewide “green” building code, the first in the nation.
The new standards will call for a 20% improvement in water use efficiency for both residential and commercial plumbing fixtures as well as target a 50% increase in conservation for water used in landscaping.
The new code will also require all new construction to reduce energy consumption by 15%.
Governor Schwarzenegger said in a statement (pdf):
“By adopting this first-in-the-nation statewide green building code, California is again leading the way to fight climate change and protect the environment.”
Helping Reduce California’s Footprint
Carbon emissions from buildings represent about one quarter of the state’s total, second only to transportation.
These newly adopted green building standards will help California achieve the goal, mandated in Assembly Bill 32 (pdf) signed into law by Schwarzenegger two years ago, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2020.
“The new standard is a huge step in greening our state and greening our nation”, said Commission Chairwoman Rosario Marin.
Schwarzenegger also introduced his Green Building Initiative on Friday (Executive Order S-20_04) directing state agencies to reduce energy consumption for all state-owned buildings 20% by 2015. New construction and renovation of state buildings must meet minimum requirements for LEED Silver certification. Thirteen state buildings are currently LEED certified.
California blazes a trail for others to follow. As Chairwoman Marin explained:
“Once again California is leading the nation and the world in emissions reductions and finding new ways to expand our climate change efforts. The commission should be commended for bringing everyone to the table including representatives of the construction and building trades industry, environmental groups and labor organizations, and achieving something no other state has been able to.”