California’s new Green Building Standards Code, which contains mandatory residential standards starting in 2011, has support from the state’s building industry association and from the USGBC. 

The new code, which became effective Aug. 1, calls for a 20% improvement in water use efficiency--as compared to current regulations--in all new residential construction. The standards will be verified by local building permit departments, according to Dave Walls, executive director of the California Building Standards Commission.

The code’s residential green building standards were supported by the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), which represents more than 5,000 companies, including home builders, contractors, and architects.

“The adopted standards provided a good balance between improving resource efficiency while maintaining affordability in new-home construction,” says CBIA technical director Bob Raymer.

USGBC president Rick Fedrizzi also lauded the new code. "The LEED green building certification system helped lead the way while setting the stage for states and municipalities to strengthen local building codes," Fedrizzi said in a statement. "Buildings are our first, best opportunity to reduce energy use and C02 emissions, and greening them must be a critical component of any policy approach that aims to fight climate change."

The code also identifies improvements to air quality, resource conservation, mold prevention, and suggests site improvements such as parking for hybrid vehicles and better stormwater plans.
“These are definitely the most stringent codes in the country,” says Raymer.

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor of EcoHome Online.