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California City’s Green Building Ordinance Applies to Commercial Buildings

san mateo office bldgNew commercial buildings in San Mateo, Calif., will have to be constructed to minimum environmental standards now that a previously voluntary green building ordinance has become mandatory.

The new standards take effect Jan. 1, reports the San Jose Mercury News. They had been voluntary for more than a year.

The law requires a minimum number of so-called “green points” for new commercial buildings, as well as residential, municipal and multipurpose buildings.

Green points can be earned by installing low-flow toilets and using nontoxic paints and wood products that don’t emit formaldahyde. Other examples include using recycled denim insulation and using high efficiency plumbing apparatus.

Builders can choose which eco-friendly elements they want to feature, so long as they earn a minimum number of points. To view the ordinance, click here (PDF).

A Sierra Club official said the guidelines were likely to encourage other cities to follow in San Mateo’s footsteps.

Daly City, Calif., also is considering adopting similar guidelines, reports the Oakland Tribune.

In excess of 40 California cities have some form of green building ordinances, according to the Mercury News.

A recent study found that energy consumption in green buildings can be cut by 30 to 50 percent and still produce a positive return on investments.

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One thought on “California City’s Green Building Ordinance Applies to Commercial Buildings

  1. Why energy efficiebnt regulation on buildings – as well as on light bulbs, cars TVs etc is wrong:

    Even if savings were justifiable (they are not as explained on the website) then taxation, eg emission taxation on buildings, makes more sense:
    Choice is maintained, and – unlike with bans – government gains income that can be used towards dealing with actual energy/emission problems
    eg towards renewable energy


    Efficient buildings are sealed buildings.
    That means windows that can’t open, no balconies, no open plan rooftop
    communication: Not always what people want.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean no buildings will have balconies in the
    future, it means that to keep within the efficiency regulation for a
    type of building, architects no longer have the option to build as
    they – and the purchasers and occupiers – might wish.

    Notably, related to electricity,
    while local solar/wind/geothermal energy may sometimes provide
    heating/cooling requirements for buildings,
    for widespread emission-free energy supply,
    grid electricity will play a key role too.

    Why energy efficiency regulations are wrong,
    whether you are for or against energy and emission conservation
    Politicians don’t object to energy efficiency as it sounds too good to be true. It is.
    –The Consumer Side
    Product Performance — Construction and Appearance
    Price Increase — Lack of Actual Savings: Money, Energy or Emissions. Choice and Quality affected
    — The Manufacturer Side
    Meeting Consumer Demand — Green Technology — Green Marketing
    –The Energy Side
    Energy Supply — Energy Security — Cars and Oil Dependence
    –The Emission Side
    Buildings — Industry — Power Stations — Light Bulbs

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