Brown Orders Big Greening Of California Buildings

While the General Services Administration may require all of the federal government’s new construction projects hit LEED Gold or better, a new executive order from the office of California Gov. Jerry Brown calls for all of the state’s new or renovated state buildings of more than 10,000 square feet to take LEED Silver or higher and incorporate clean, onsite power generation.

But lest you think the governor content to play second fiddle to the federal government on cutting the carbon footprint of its buildings, consider the fact that  the order also sets a target of zero net energy consumption for 50 percent of the square footage of existing state-owned buildings by 2025 and zero net energy consumption from all new or renovated state buildings beginning design after 2025. And there’s more.

california green building standards

image via California Department of General Services

The executive order also directs state agencies and departments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020 (as measured against a 2010 baseline); reduce overall water use by the same amount, over the same baseline;  and reduce their grid-based energy purchases and other non-building, grid-based retail energy purchases by 20 percent by 2018, as compared to a 2003 baseline. Additionally, state agencies and departments will be required to use environmentally preferable products and provide electric vehicle charging stations at employee parking facilities in new and existing buildings.

All of which is in keeping with the state’s history of leadership on energy efficient policies and legislation, as the state’s per capita use of electricity has remained virtually flat over the past 30 years, despite its rapid economic growth. According to the governor’s office, these policies have created 1.5 million jobs for the state and saved taxpayers $1,000 per household since 1978, and this new executive order has the potential to save the save millions more (not to mention billions of gallons of water).

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

  • Rgj1

    Lets all make it harder and more costly to build or renovate buildings in California – after all they can afford it!

  • barrygiles

    Rgj1…not always true…Yes if you want it to cost more then it certainly can…but today in Oakland a LEED Platinum plaque will be placed on the highest rated LEED Commercial Interiors renovation project in the world (102 points out of 110)…cost.. $25 per square foot

  • Tesla242

    Let’s talk about sustainability.  Gov. Brown is how many billions over budget?  And he wants to tax his way out!  This is icing on the ridiculus cake for him to come up with this cockamamie idea that gov. buildings should go LEED silver, when CA can’t afford toilet paper.  LEED buildings are very expensive to construct. 

    One idea for buildings is to require the people who make the building and operations decisions in Gov’t responsible to the people for the lowest cost of ownership over say a 40 year life span.  Then you would have incentive to build a less epensive building that is actually energy efficient.  That is what the private sector building owners do and it generally works well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WKBA2WD7YVXAKMQ6TW2NAXV3H4 bobjohnson

    Perhaps as a result, when the deadline approaches many buildings in need of renovation will just not renovate.  As a result, instead of renovating to moderately efficient insides, they will stay inefficient.