Stressed out trying to keep up with all the local building codes?  What about green building incentives in your neighborhood?  Have you figured out the changes in LEED 2009?  (…scream…).

"Calgon CalGreen, take me away!" 

Reminiscent of the 1970s commercial involving a certain screaming mom, a few screaming kids, and a bubble bath, you may be overwhelmed trying to figure out the status of green building initiatives in your jurisdiction.  Here’s another one to add to the mix:

Yesterday, the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to approve "the most stringent, environmentally friendly building code standards of any state in the nation," as dubbed by the San Francisco Gate.  The new building code, which has been called CalGreen, takes effect January 2011.  According to the new code, builders must do the following for new construction: 

  • Install plumbing to cut water usage
  • Divert 50% of construction waste from landfills to recycling
  • Use low-pollutant paints, carpets and floorings
  • Install separate water meters for different uses (non-residential only)

In addition, CalGreen mandates the inspection of energy systems by local officials to ensure that HVAC systems are performing the energy-saving jobs correctly.  CalGreen, a statewide code, allows local jurisdictions to implement or retain even stricter standards.

CalGreen incorporates sustainable practices into the state building code, as opposed to adopting a third-party rating system such as USGBC’s LEED.  That is precisely what Nashville Councilmember Mike Jameson suggested last week at  a sustainability breakfast in Nashville should be done: "… I would like to see the city code mirror the [third-party version] … to be a stand alone code."

The passage of the code was significant, particularly where six major environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the United States Green Building Council, opposed the measures because "some of the rules … aren’t tough enough."

You can beat that the rest of the nation, including localities such as Nashville, are keeping a close eye on state and local codes like CalGreen.

(Hat Tip to @elaineishere for the Tweet!)