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California Green Builder Program Meets State Goals

The California Energy Commission last month gave the California Green Builder program its green seal of approval, noting that the program is cost-effective and consistent with the state’s energy policy, waste policy and environmental goals.

The program was developed by the California Building Industry Association and its affiliate, the Building Industry Institute, to encourage builders to build homes that use less water and energy than standard homes, reduce the need for lumber and help communities meet their state recycling goals.

So far, more than 1,300 homes have been built in compliance with the program’s standards, and some 5,000 more are on the drawing boards.

“Many home builders have wanted to build green, but in a way that made bottom-line sense and could be shown to benefit the environment,” said Robert Rivinius, CBIA’s president and chief executive officer. “The California Green Builder program is workable and measurable, and we’re excited that the Energy Commission has recognized the program’s benefits. We think the California Green Builder program will be the standard for green home building for years to come.”

Participants in the program agree to build homes that:

  • Exceed by 15% the state’s energy-efficiency standards, which are the toughest in the nation

  • Reduce water consumption by at least 20,000 gallons a year compared to conventionally constructed homes

  • Are built of less wood through increased use of engineered wood products made primarily from sustainable harvested forest resources

  • Feature significantly improved indoor air quality through the use of low-volatile organic paints, lacquers, floor underlayment and carpets, along with improved filtration systems

The program also diverts at least 50% of construction waste from landfills, helping cities and counties meet the state’s tough waste-diversion requirements.

Rivinius noted that the voluntary program features standards that are reasonable, cost-effective and easy to understand and that allow environmental benefits to be calculated and verified. Third-party testing is used to ensure that each new home complies with the program’s requirements.

Each home built under the program saves an average of $15-$30 on monthly energy bills, saves enough water each year to fill a backyard swimming pool and saves at least two trees, Rivnius said.

Current program participants are Castle and Cooke, Centex Homes/Central Coast Division, Pardee Homes, Treasure Homes and Victory Homes.

Get Green Building Intelligence at BuilderBooks.com

The “Residential Green Building SmartMarket Report,” available through BuilderBooks.com, addresses the growing trends and opportunities in green building.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

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