Green building bills are back

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 1, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Green building bills that were introduced with only intent language have lately picked up more substance.  Two bills in particular have caught CMTA’s attention, AB 1058 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, and Ted Lieu, D-Torrance) and AB 1065 (Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View).

AB 1058 directs the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) to develop, adopt and publish mandatory green building standards for new residential construction. While CMTA supports the development and publication of a set of voluntary residential green building guidelines, we oppose mandating statewide standards. We are especially concerned with standards that have not been field tested prior to adoption.  The Building Standards Commission has served as the lead oversight agency for all building standards adopted in California over the past 30 years.  Given that these new standards must be incorporated into, and directly interact with the provisions of all six of the state construction codes (building, fire, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and energy), putting Cal EPA in charge will clearly create regulatory conflict and promote government inefficiency by having two separate entities performing the same administrative functions.
CMTA’s primary objection is the impact on the affordability of housing.  There are hundreds of green building concepts that agencies will be considering during the development of these green building standards.  While some are relatively inexpensive, many of the items can and will trigger substantial increases in construction costs.  Since the bill has no requirement for local or state government to assess the impact on home purchases or rental affordability, CMTA is in opposition.

AB 1065 is a mandate for photovoltaic (PV) solar energy on all new residential and commercial construction.  The energy efficiency goals are unrealistically aggressive.  In order to meet these goals, very expensive "on site" generation of electricity will have to be combined with increasingly stringent and costly energy efficiency measures.  While the mass application of PV solar energy system technology is farther along than at-home fuel cell technology, neither of these is yet cost effective.  PV solar energy systems have actually increased in cost by 25% over the past 18 months. 

Both bills will increase the cost of housing and deter companies from expanding employment in California.

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