This page last reviewed March 10, 2014
California Green Building Strategy
Buildings represent the second largest source of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Significant GHG emission reductions can be achieved through sustainable construction, operation, and renovation of new and existing buildings. Since 1978, when Building Energy Efficiency Standards, known as the California Energy Code, were initially adopted, Californians have saved more than $56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs. According to Davis Langdon, "Cost of Green Revisited", there is no significant difference in average cost for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings. Green buildings reduce operating costs, save money over time, and are a cost effective strategy that supports California's GHG goals.
The 2008 AB 32 Scoping Plan identified several actions to help California reduce GHG emissions from both new and existing buildings. Original estimates indicated that 26 MMT CO2e of emission reductions could be achieved from the green building sector, which represented 15 percent of California’s 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction target.
In addition to achieving GHG reductions to meet AB 32 targets, the green building strategy also provides a significant contribution towards meeting the 2050 climate goals. Executive Order S-3-05 calls for reducing greenhouse gas emission reduction for 2020 to 1990 levels; and for 2050, reduce GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels.
The following table shows the measures identified in the AB 32 Scoping Plan to reduce GHG emissions from buildings:
|Green Building Standards Code||Consistent mandatory provisions for all building types||2.9|
|Beyond Code||Encourage voluntary efforts to go beyond mandatory code requirements||3.6|
|Existing Building Retrofits||Retrofit existing State, school, residential and commercial buildings||20|
Green Building Executive Orders to Support Climate Goals
Executive Order S-20-04: At the time of developing the 2008 AB 32 Scoping Plan, Executive Order S-20-04 outlined guiding policies that called for reducing electricity consumption in existing and new State-owned buildings 20 percent by 2015, through designing, constructing and operating all new and renovated State-owned facilities to "LEED Silver" or higher certified buildings.
Executive Order B-18-12: In April 2012, Governor Brown signed a green building Executive Order B-18-12 directing state agencies and departments to take immediate action for State government buildings to serve as models for green building. EO B-18-12 supports California's climate goals by requiring state agencies to reduce entity-wide GHG emissions by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020. It also includes requirements to reduce grid-based energy purchases by at least 20% by 2018, achieve LEED "Silver" certification for new or major renovated State buildings, retrofit half of existing building to be Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings by 2025, and implement electric vehicle charging stations to accommodate future infrastructure demand.
For more information on how the State is achieving the latest Green Building Executive Order requirements, visit the Department of General Services Green California website.