California continues to improve its Green Building Standard Codes.
California continues to improve its Green Building Standard Codes. The GBSC led by the California Building Standard Commission is the first state-wide mandatory Green Building code standard in the nation. The GBSC also known as CalGreen recently updated its code standards in July 2012. It remains a work in progress, but it shows how far ahead California is in energy-efficient building compared to the rest of the country. Unfortunately, only new construction is designated for mandatory building regulations. The mandatory provisions do not affect remodel, retrofits and additions to a building.
One example is water efficiency: Both LEED and CalGreen address indoor and outdoor water use, and waste-water reduction. CalGreen is designed to reduce the overall use of potable water by at least 20%. LEED is somewhat more stringent in its benchmarks on performance, but CalGreen requires water meters where LEED doesn’t mention meters.
The California Building Standards Commission, the agency that led CalGreen development believes CalGreen is an important step to mainstreaming green building design and reducing the carbon footprint buildings have on the environment. CalGreen requires that at least 50% of a project’s non-hazardous construction and demolition debris be recycled or salvaged for reuse, but there are exceptions like land-clearing debris.
For residential construction, CalGreen addresses five main areas:
Alex Spilger, a LEED-accredited professional and sustainability manager states that CalGreen can only help promote green building practices throughout the state by requiring all projects to meet minimum measures making it a catalyst for encouraging LEED and other third-party rating systems to adapt and improve.