Milton Friedman Lives On

Milton Friedman was a world-class economist, won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976, and passed away in 2006. Friedman championed repeal of the death tax (estate tax) for years. In 2001 he wrote an open letter on the subject and convinced 276 economists to sign on. This week the national Family Business Coalition, of […]

Giving a Voice to Family Businesses

Taking a Stand to Protect a Driving Force in California’s Economy It seems amazing that family businesses have never been represented at our state capitol, or any capitol, for that matter. There are several organizations that represent certain types of family businesses and those that provide services to family businesses, but did you know that […]

New Homes are a Minnow in the Carbon Footprint Sea

Two important studies just released conclude that new homes already exceed the state’s ambitious 2020 greenhouse gas emission reductions requirements. The studies show that new homes are not part of the greenhouse gas problem, but rather are part of the solution.

The benchmark for the state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) is the home built in 1990, and homes built today are far more energy-efficient. If AB 32’s ambitious goals are to be met, the focus must be on retrofitting the existing housing stock.

The residential sector accounts for only 14 per cent of the state’s total emissions, far behind transportation (41 per cent) and industrial (25 per cent). In a state with nearly 13.3 million housing units, new housing is adding less than one percent to the total housing stock each year, and because the new homes are so energy-efficient, emissions from those new homes make up just one-tenth of one percent of the state’s total annual GHG emissions.

California Adopts New Green Building Standards

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.

Drought of Real Solutions

Everybody has undoubtedly heard the news that Governor Schwarzenegger has declared that California is in a drought and we need to conserve as much water as possible. The homebuilding industry is especially concerned about California’s water situation and shares the Governor’s commitment to increase our water supply and improve our water conveyance infrastructure.

Our industry stands ready to work with Governor Schwarzenegger and our legislative leaders to solve the water crisis facing our state.

However before we can find solutions, we need to set the record straight about growth in California and the real impact new homes have on water demand. As Dan Walters recently pointed out, “California’s population has doubled since the last major water projects were built in the 1960s, and it probably will increase by another third by 2030. Having more people means more demand for water, even with the most stringent conservation programs.”

California’s Dire Housing Outlook

With California on track in 2008 to have the lowest number of housing permits (79,000) issued since statewide records have been kept (1954), and while California continues to grow by nearly a half-million new residents per year, the housing affordability crisis in California will continue to worsen.

Yes, we know that home prices are down as much as 20-30% in many parts of the state, but that will be short-lived. Why, you ask?

Well, there is an alignment of many unfortunate factors. Even though some land ready for development in the fastest growing parts of the state is virtually worthless today, there is not enough land identified for housing to really meet our growth needs, so in the not-too-distant future that land will again be producing $200,000 building lots.