The California Building Industry Association supported the adoption of
new mandatory green building standards which will help ensure that
California remains at the cutting edge of the green building movement
while keeping new homes as affordable as possible.

The California Building Standards Commission on July 17 made California
the first state in the nation to incorporate green building standards
into its building codes. The codes, developed by the state Department of
Housing and Community Development, will be phased in over the next three
years. The new statewide standards will help homebuilders move green
building into the mainstream.

California homebuilders are already building homes that are far more
energy-efficient than homes built to national standards, and that also
conserve water and other important natural resources. In fact, the
carbon footprint of a new home built today is already 25 percent less
than that of a home built in 1990.

Our members are taking green building to the next step, but we need
consistent, understandable and cost-effective standards that will ensure
we don’t add to the state’s already critical housing affordability

The standards address the following key issues:

Energy Efficiency (July 2009): The HCD standards require
compliance with the California Energy Commission’s Residential Energy
Efficiency Standards, which will increase the stringency of existing
statewide energy standards by 20 percent. The new standards will make
new California homes approximately 50 percent more energy-efficient than
homes built to national energy standards.

Water Conservation (July 2011): The HCD standards require a 20
percent reduction in overall water use within all new homes starting on
July 1, 2011. While this new water-conserving building code will allow a
variety of compliance options, it is anticipated that compliance with
this requirement will commonly be met via installation of new super-low
flow toilets and showerheads.

Air Quality, Moisture Control & Resource Conservation (January
There are 16 features in this remaining category that will become
mandatory at the same time as the new 2010 edition of the California
Building Code takes effect, currently projected to happen on January 1,
2011. Among these environmentally friendly features are requirements for
low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) adhesives, paints and
coatings; high-efficiency air conditioning filters to better filter out
dust and particulates; and always-on exhaust fans to ensure better fresh
air circulation in the home.

In order to help the homeowner or renter understand and properly
maintain all of these new features, HCD also will require a detailed
building operation and maintenance manual be made available at time of