Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

California's Green Building Standard

California's Green Building Standard, adopted by the California Building Standards Commission on July 18, 2008, appears to remain the only state-wide green building standard in existence --- which is somewhat surprising, given the sudden popularity of "going green" in so many business sectors. Hardly a day goes by without several emails in my In box advertising programs, books, events, etc. touting the benefits of being green.

California's standards appear to focus heavily on reducing water use --- by one account, the standards will require (when they become mandatory in a couple of years) that water use be reduced by 20 percent and water for landscaping by 50 percent for all new construction. The standards will also require reducing energy usage by 15 percent. Click here to find the final approved standards.

One thing that makes the California standards attractive is that they don't specify how to make the called-for reductions. Giving the construction industry the flexibility to choose how to reduce water consumption and energy should be helpful not only to the industry but also to consumers (whether this flexibility will carry over into the mandatory standards that are to be developed over the next two years or so remains to be seen).

It will be interesting to see whether, and when, other states follow California's lead. I suspect it won't be until after the economy bottoms out and begins to recover. It is hard to concentrate on much of anything else at this point. (This post published by Karen Estelle Carey, an attorney in Womble Carlyle's real estate and construction practice.)

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