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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > California Environmental Compliance

CAL Green California Green Building Code for 2011

California has approved the most stringent, environmentally-friendly building code in the United States that will apply to new commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, shopping malls and homes.

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Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN)

Governor Schwarzenegger announces the first-in-the-nation statewide "Green Building Standards Code" on 01/12/2010.

Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) requiring all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. Taking effect on January 1, 2011, these comprehensive regulations will achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water use to create a greener California.

"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,” said 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 new home, office building or public structure.”

History of Green Building Standards in California

The 2008 Green Building Standards Code went into effect on August 1, 2009. The code is currently voluntary unless otherwise adopted by local jurisdictions as mandatory. State mandatory compliance will take effect in 2011.

New Building Construction

CALGREEN will require that every new building constructed in California
  • Reduce water consumption by 20 percent,
  • Divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills
  • Install low pollutant-emitting materials.
  • Requires separate water meters for nonresidential buildings’ indoor and outdoor water use
  • Requires moisture-sensing irrigation systems for larger landscape projects
  • Requires 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.

    Code To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) by 3 million metric tons equivalent in 2020.

    "CAL Green Compliant" Opens Green Building Certification

    The new mandatory code, called "CAL Green"  won a unanimous vote by the California Building Standards Commission, and will take effect in January 2011.

    CAL Green

    Property owners can also label their facilities as CAL Green compliant, once they pass state building inspection, without the additional cost of third-party certification programs. The mandatory CAL Green provisions will be inspected and verified by local and state building departments.

    However, the regulations were opposed by several private organizations that offer construction rating systems, including the U.S. Green Building Council, which said it could result in confusion for builders, local governments and the public, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

    More than 40 California cities have some form of green building ordinances.

    "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," stated Governor Schwarzenegger in a press release.

    CAL Green from California Building Standards Commission: 



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