California Approves New Energy Efficiency Standards for Buildings

December 03, 2003

California is destined to be the location for many more energy-efficient buildings, since the California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved updated building standards for energy efficiency. The new standards take effect in October 2005, and will yield more than 500 megawatts (MW) in energy savings by 2008. The new standards include the use of "cool roofs" and efficient lighting, as well as measures to encourage greater use of daylighting, better sealing of ducts, and improved window glazings. See the November 5 press release.

The upgraded building standards are supported by a recent study of green buildings, which found that green designs typically add about 2% to the cost of a building, and yield savings over the life of the building that total 20% of the building costs. In other words, the savings are 10 times the initial investment. The study, released in October, was prepared by the Capital E group with help from DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was developed for the Sustainable Buildings Task Force, a group of more than 40 California state agencies. See the report titled "The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings."

Source: November 19 issue of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) EERE Network News.