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California approves mandatory green building code

BY CSA STAFF

New York City California had approved the most stringent, environmentally friendly building code standards of any state in the nation.

The new code, dubbed Calgreen, was approved Tuesday and will take effect next January. It requires builders to install plumbing that cuts indoor water use, divert 50% of construction waste from landfills to recycling, use low-pollutant paints, carpets and floorings and, in nonresidential buildings, install separate water meters for different uses.

It mandates the inspection of energy systems by local officials to ensure that heaters, air conditioners and other mechanical equipment in nonresidential buildings are working efficiently. It will also allow local jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, to retain their stricter existing green building standards, or adopt more stringent versions of the state code if they choose.

The code was supported by a wide range of building industry and realty associations, as well as the state Chamber of Commerce. Industry officials said that it would increase construction costs only slightly.

The regulations were opposed by several private organizations that offer construction rating systems, including the U.S. Green Building Council, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Elizabeth Echols of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Northern California chapter said her group is most concerned with the provision of the code that would allow cities and counties to adopt more stringent standards, which she said could result in confusion for builders, local governments and the public, the report said. She rejected the notion, suggested by several speakers at the meeting, that her group was simply trying to protect its market share by discouraging a competing verification system.

State officials said the regulations create a single comprehensive code, clearing up confusion over varying regulations, and it allows builders to receive green certification without paying a third party.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the new regulations, saying the new rules will help the Golden State reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve 33% renewable energy by 2020.

“With this first-in-the nation mandatory green building standards code, California continues to pave the way in energy efficiency and environmental protection,” Schwarzenegger said. “Today’s action lays the foundation for the move to greener buildings constructed with environmentally advanced building practices that decrease waste, reduce energy use and conserve resources.”

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Foodtown installs solar energy rooftop systems

BY CSA STAFF

Manasquan, N.J. Norkus Enterprises, operator of Foodtown supermarkets across Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey, has undergone four of six planned rooftop installations provided by Solis Partners LLC, a full-service integrator of commercial solar power systems.

The systems consist of approximately 2,700 Solyndra solar panels, producing over 600,000 kWh of electricity and eliminating more than 820,000 lbs. of CO2 emissions annually. The system’s ability to cover more rooftop area and capture more light than traditional flat-plated panels will result in more annual solar electricity generation and will provide clean, low-cost power for more than 25 years, according to Norkus.

The PV panels convert sunlight to electric power and produce no air pollution, hazardous waste and do not require liquid or gaseous fuels to be transported or combusted.

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Tesco CEO sees climate change as opportunity for retailers

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Climate change will be one of the key growth drivers for retailers in the coming years, said Sir Terry Leahy, CEO, Tesco PLC, in a presentation Tuesday at the National Retail Federation’s 99th Annual Convention & Expo.

“The science seems incontrovertible,” Leahy said. “We now have got to shift the whole basis of consumption to low carbon. It won’t be less consumption — people want a better life — but it will be different consumption.”

For retailers, the shift to reduced carbon consumption represents a significant business opportunity, according to Leahy.

“Those retail businesses who respond first and best to the consumer’s need for low-carbon products and low-carbon living in an affordable way will do the best,” he said. “It is an opportunity for us all.”

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