It’s September. In less than 4 months (January 1, 2011) the State of California will officially adopt the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code (CalGreen). California is the first State in the country to take this step.

Let’s recall the goals of building green buildings. To reduce:

1. Energy Use

2. CO2 emissions

3. Water Use

4. Solid Waste

What does the implementation of this new mandatory Green Building Code mean? What are the implications for owners, designers and builders in California? What makes CalGreen different from LEED or any other point rated system?

I recently attended a seminar put on by Microworks regarding CalGreen and its’ implications once adopted. Ron Fong (LEED AP, PE and the Chair of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the USGBC,) presented to a group of building professionals, and answered a number of the questions listed above. Below are just some of the many points covered during the seminar – credit for the research and information goes to Ron Fong.

A very brief overview of CalGreen:

1) CalGreen will be adopted by the following State Agencies:

a) California Building Standards Commission (CBSC)

b) Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)

c) Division of the State Architect (DSA)

d) Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD)

2) CalGreen is located in Part 11 of Title 24 of the CCR

3) CalGreen consists of 8 chapters, Appendices A4 & A5

4) Chapter 1 – Administrative chapter. Scope of the CalGreen Code ONLY applies to new construction, and is not intended to meet requirements of a point rated system.

5) Chapter 4 – Residential Mandatory Measures

6) Chapter 5 – Non-Residential Mandatory Measures

7) Appendix A4 & A5 – Residential & Non Residential Voluntary Measures. There are 2 Tiers within each Appendix. Tier 1 & Tier 2 are voluntary unless adopted by a city, and/or county. Even though both Tiers are voluntary, once you choose to achieve, for example Tier 1, you must meet all of the requirements set forth.

8) Chapter 8 – Contains compliance forms and worksheets

9) CalGreen categories are similar to LEED & Green Point Rated categories

10) There is no change to Energy Efficiency requirements from current code. But for example, if you choose to fulfill Tier 1, you would have to “(e)xceed the California Energy Code based on the 2008 energy standards requirements by 15 percent.” If you choose to take on the challenge of fulfilling all requirements of Tier 2, you would have to “(e)xceed the California Energy Code based on the 2008 energy standards requirements by 30 percent.”

So what makes CalGreen different than LEED or GreenPoint Rated? A coalition of the USGBC-NCC, BIG, AIA California, and the Bay Area Climate Collaborative came together to author a comparative study of CALGreen, LEED and Green Point Rated to consolidate recommendations on how to handle the new Cal Green voluntary measures. This newly published comparative study is available at

For much more detailed information on CalGreen, you can download your free PDF of the CalGreen Building Code at

Posted by newresource, filed under Energy Use, Green Building, Innovation. Date: September 9, 2010, 9:55 am | 1 Comment »

The building sector is the single largest consumer of energy in the nation, so it is refreshing to see a firm like HKS embrace the technology for their own 110,000 square foot Dallas headquarters.  Design can play a powerful role in conserving resources – HKS partnered with Renewable Choice Energy to offset its annual electricity consumption with 100% wind power.

Posted by newresource, filed under Energy Use, Green Building, Innovation. Date: March 23, 2010, 9:30 am | 1 Comment »

The growth of the green building market has been widely celebrated recently, spurred largely by government policies and rising recognition that such structures are more economical to operate.  An article published yesterday in Earth2Tech, by Justin Moresco does an excellent job of describing 5 of the major risks that could hinder rapid growth.

Posted by newresource, filed under Energy Use, Green Building. Date: September 3, 2009, 7:17 pm | No Comments »

See this weeks North Bay Business Journal for an article about BuildPods factory built bathrooms and kitchens being used in an upcoming project in Sonoma Valley.

Posted by newresource, filed under Energy Use, Green Building Materials. Date: August 10, 2009, 7:48 am | No Comments »

Why not supersize solar panels? Roger Little, chief executive of Spire, which develops equipment for solar PV panel manufacturing, thinks so. Little, who spoke on a panel at the Intersolar conference this week in San Francisco, told us that his Medford, Mass.-based company has developed a prototype of a machine that would produce what he calls “supersized” solar modules. The giant panels would be about 3 feet by 12 feet in size and produce about 1 kilowatt of power each, or about five times the surface area and power output of standard panels today.

Posted by newresource, filed under Energy Use. Date: July 16, 2009, 7:48 am | No Comments »

Several months ago, GE started a trial installing smart appliances – dishwashers, microwaves and others devices embedded with communications technology – in 15 homes.   This article posted today at earth2tech talks about the trial and the plans GE has for the future regarding smart appliances.

Will we start seeing these type of appliances and heat pumps in multi-family projects in the future?

Posted by newresource, filed under Energy Use. Date: May 15, 2009, 9:50 am | No Comments »