Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Green Building Standards

California Adopts Voluntary Green Building Standards
Alyson Wendt, GreenSource Magazine, September 15, 2008

California has become the first state to adopt green building standards into its building codes. The standards, adopted by the California Building Standards Commission, will become part of Title 24, the state’s building and energy-efficiency regulations, in July 2009. Although currently voluntary, the standards will become mandatory in 2011 after another round of code reviews.

The highlights:
- Commercial buildings must use 15%–30% less energy compared with current code requirements
- Commercial buildings must meet 1% of their total energy use with onsite renewable generation
- Residential buildings must meet energy code requirements and include air-sealing measures
- New buildings must demonstrate 20% savings in indoor potable water use compared with current code requirements
- Residential standards limit the use of multiple showerheads in a single shower
- Outdoor water use in commercial buildings must be reduced by 50% compared with current code requirements
- Requires 2.5%, by cost, of the materials used in new commercial buildings to be biobased materials

The standards also contain provisions for rainwater collection and graywater irrigation, as well as dual plumbing in commercial buildings for potable and recycled water. And they include extensive indoor environmental quality requirements for commercial buildings. The green building standards add increased ventilation, daylighting, and occupant control of thermal and lighting comfort to the equation for commercial buildings (California already has limits on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products). The standards for residential buildings require that homes meet the formaldehyde regulation and avoid paints, adhesives, carpets, and other materials with high levels of VOCs.

Read the complete article here:

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