Green Building in Napa

Kevin Courtney, The Napa Register - When it comes to making California an environmental model for the nation, Steve Jensen, Napa’s chief building official, is doing his part.

Jensen was part of the 11-member California Building Standards Commission that last month adopted the nation’s first “green” building code to cut energy and water usage.

When this code filters down to cities and counties, new construction standards will require that buildings drive down energy use by 15 to 20 percent compared to current averages, while water allowed for new landscaping will be cut in half, Jensen said.

California already has the toughest energy standards in the nation. By next summer, the state code will be 50 percent tougher than any other state, Jensen said.

“I’m very proud of what I’ve done,” said Jensen, who oversees the city’s building department. “I think it’s very progressive for California to take the lead.”

Green enough?

The California Building Standards Commission took a year and a half to adopt the new standards, which were vetted by experts and subjected to public hearings.

Most of the standards won’t become mandatory until the end of 2010 when a new state building code takes effect, Jensen said.

The building industry generally supported the new policies, recognizing that the status quo wasn’t good enough. Environmental groups wanted the state to aim even higher, Jensen said. Click here for the rest of the article...

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