The Sierra Club priority is 30% efficiency in buildings though codes.
Quote: A comprehensive, integrated campaign to boost new home model code energy efficiency by 30% Because homes and other buildings consume almost half of America’s energy, they must play a significant role in any successful effort to improve energy efficiency. The 30% Solution before the International Code Commission is an ambitious, yet achievable and affordable proposal to reduce wasted energy from our homes.
San Mateo Green Building Ordinance was passed in February 2008
Quote: Homeowners and developers who use green building techniques like environmentally-friendly materials in the unincorporated area will speed through the approval process faster under a new program approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to encourage the practice.
The new policy, spearheaded by Supervisor Mark Church, awards points for green options used during new construction and remodels. After a minimum of 50 points is achieved, builders will receive incentives like fast-tracked application processing from 10 to 12 weeks down to four weeks when 75 to 100 points is reached. After 100 points, the county guarantees to reduce building inspection from three to four working days to two working days.
California passed SB811 which Belmont should adopt. As a result California law allows cities to give loans for energy-saving improvements with a financial structure similar to a utility tax.
The new California Green Building Code pdf for new construction is available here and read the associated writeup.
Quote: It goes into effect in 180 days, will be voluntary until 2010, when its provisions are expected to become mandatory, commission leaders said. The voluntary period gives builders, local governments and communities time to adapt to the new rules, the commission said.
The code sets targets for energy efficiency, water consumption, dual plumbing systems for potable and recyclable water, diversion of construction waste from landfills and use of environmentally sensitive materials in construction and design, including eco-friendly flooring, carpeting, paint, coatings, thermal insulation and acoustical wall and ceiling panels.
"By adopting this first-in-the-nation statewide green building code, California is again leading the way to fight climate change and protect the environment," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement released Thursday. "This is literally a groundbreaking move to ensure that when we break ground on all new buildings in the Golden State we are promoting green building and energy efficient new technologies."
Marin acknowledged the efforts by saying the process brought together groups with "very disparate interests" to develop the building code. The code "sets a floor, not a ceiling," she said, adding that builders, cities and counties are encouraged to exceed the standards.
The standards cover commercial and residential construction in the public and private sectors as well as schools of all levels, hospitals and other public institutions. The green thresholds include a 50 percent increase in landscape water conservation and a 15 percent reduction in energy use compared to current standards. All the measures if acted upon would at least be comparable to the requirements of a "silver rating" under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), commission representatives said.
We should be pushing for LEED ND because the commute can blow a green building's carbon budget. This is currently a pilot project endorsed by Smart Growth America and the National Resource Defense Council.