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CALGreen Building Standards Code: Marketing and Reality

May 13, 2010

By Ryan Trahan and John Opgenorth

In January of this year, the California Building Standards Commission released its 2010 Draft California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) set to take effect January 1, 2011. This new name for Part 11 of the California Building Standards Code represents one branch of a multifaceted marketing campaignthe State has issued a series of press releases and position statements, is publishing a dedicated magazine, and is offering educational workshopsaimed at promoting California as a leader in green building code standards. While the State has touted CALGreen as exemplifying environmental leadership, private building-certification organizations have criticized the new code, citing a lack of substantive measures and the States apparent unwillingness to work in conjunction with model green building codes. This has led to some confusion: does CALGreen represent fundamental change in state building standards or is it simply a marketing effort? Moreover, how does CALGreen interact with private building certification systems such as LEED and Build It Green?

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