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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > California Environmental Compliance > California Title 24

Greening California One Building at a Time

California's Green Building codes will go beyond Title 24

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If you could make everyone in California build energy efficient buildings, how would you do it?

By Rosario Marin,
Secretary of the State Consumer Services Agency and Chairwoman of the California Building Standards Commission

Would you enact new standards city by city and jurisdiction by jurisdiction, creating a jumble of different regulations? Or would you enact a new set of building codes and enforce the same energy efficient standards across the state?

Change Building Codes

Governor Schwarzenegger believes the right answer is to change the building codes and make sure that everyone who builds in California will be held to the same strict environmental standards. That is exactly what we are doing at the California Building Standards Commission, where we set the building standards and codes for every commercial building constructed in this state.

California's Green Building Codes, 2009

We just concluded the public comment period for 2009's proposed codes. We call it California’s Green Building Codes and I am proud to say that when adopted, it will give our state the most advanced building standards in the United States.

The new 2009 codes will require

  • Significant improvements in water usage for plumbing fixtures

  • Specify household and landscape water conservation reductions of 20 percent for homes

  • Set 15 percent stronger requirements for energy savings than we currently enforce.
We will find these energy savings through a combination of more efficient appliances, better insulation, and more efficient windows. This code will also encourage the use of recycled materials in carpets and building materials, identify a number of improvements to air quality, and suggest various site improvements, including parking for hybrid vehicles and better storm water plans.

Our partners in developing these new standards are the Department of General Services, Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, and the state’s building industry.

As the state’s real estate arm, the Department of General Services has been constructing energy efficient buildings for years, and already meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards for all new construction projects. This on-the-ground knowledge has helped us create an advanced energy efficient and sustainable code that is practical today. The Department of Housing and Community Development has provided residential expertise, and Health Planning and Development contributed healthcare facilities know-how. We are also proud that the state's builders- the Commission's greatest asset- have attended our public comment sessions and provided valuable input.

Beyond Title 24

Together we created new standards that go well beyond the Title 24 energy standards that California adopted a few years ago- which put us on the map as environmental trailblazers- and which the California Energy Commission has recently strengthened.

Those Title 24 standards have contributed to our state keeping energy consumption nearly flat while the population has grown.

The Title 24 standards have become the model for many other states.

Once again California is ready to step back in and lead. It is time to go further than Title 24, and our proposed 2009 code is the right next step. I encourage anyone interested in the “greening” of our state to look at the proposed codes on our website- and provide us with feedback. By working together now, we can make California a better place for generations to come.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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