These are strange times for the green building industry.  Last week, California prepared to vote on new green building codes that would improve energy efficiency, water use and waste reduction in the construction industry.  Normally you would anticipate that environmental groups and green builders would applaud these measures, right?

Not quite.  

"[P]arts of the state’s new code, which would take effect in January 2011, would amount to ‘a setback for California’s leadership on green building,’ according to a Dec. 22 letter from six groups. They included the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Global Green, along with two nonprofit certification groups, the Green Building Council and Berkeley-based Build It Green. 

The groups largely applaud the code’s mandatory rules as a baseline minimum standard.  But they take issue with its two-tier labeling system for stricter voluntary measures, CalGreen, saying it would be open to conflicting interpretations and be unenforceable by local building inspectors.

‘The tiers cause confusion in the marketplace and the potential for builders to label their buildings green without substantiating their claims,’ said Elizabeth Echols, director of the Green Building Council’s Northern California chapter. Many local officials who would be responsible for verifying builder claims do not have the technical expertise that LEED and other third-party verifiers provide, she added."

I am puzzled by these groups attempts to thwart passage of the California green building code.  Pushing for the LEED rating system, or any other third party green building rating system, to be codified for an entire state is not a viable option.  Next post I will give you three reasons to consider. 

What do you think about the environmental groups’ attempts to block the California green building code?  

Related Links:    Environmental groups try to block parts of California’s green building code

Photo:  mars discovery district