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California Issues Tougher Green Standards for Buildings

building_construction.jpgCalifornia has issued new statewide building standards, seeking to reduce energy consumption of buildings by 15 percent and reduce water used for landscaping by 50 percent. But environmentalist say it falls short of the strict standards they expected, the LA Times reports.

Environmentalists criticized the draft code for inadequate rules on renewable energy, recycling and use of woods. Staff from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office warded off a potentially embarrassing disapproval by meeting with them and agreeing to last-minute revisions of the draft. The revisions gave certification of sustainably harvested wood by industry groups equal weight to those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The new building standards are initially voluntary but will be mandatory in 2010.

The language allows localities to adopt tougher standards, but energy analysts warn that the weaker state code could be seen as  “a ceiling” by many areas, and recommends a bill be passed by the state Legislature to clarify local powers.

The state is toughening up on green building codes, aiming to comply with its legal mandate of reducing its carbon emissions by 30 percent in the next 12 years.

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