The city of Richmond, California is on its way toward passing a law that would require any new construction to meet a minimum threshhold of environmental friendliness. The city of over 100,000 is the largest in the country to have a Green Party mayor, and she is backing the effort. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said, “The cost savings in terms of energy cost savings is truly the reason we go forward with this. Remember the purpose we’re doing this and the outcome we’re going to get from it.”
While Richmond would be the first city in its county to impose such a standard, a few other California cities have taken similar action. The Contra Costa Times describes the proposed law as “in the middle of the pack when it comes to how stringent its requirements would be for commercial construction, and a little above the middle when it comes to residential construction.”
A more thorough description from the article:
Officials imposed the first requirement to build green on themselves in 2007. Attempting to “lead by example,” the city required green techniques be used to construct and renovate municipal buildings. Civic Center, which is undergoing a $101 million retrofit that’s nearly complete, now sports solar panels on its roof, water-efficient plants, more natural lighting and increased ventilation.
Now, officials will demand the same of privately-constructed buildings.
The green building ordinance under consideration is based on a mix of federal, state and industry standards that other cities have adopted.
New home developers can choose from more than 100 green techniques to earn up to 233 points; they would be required under Richmond’s law to amass 50 points to get a permit.
Recycling your construction waste is worth two points. Installing an efficient irrigation system for plants earns up to three points. High efficiency toilets are four points. A solar water heating system gets you 10 points.