Residential Green Building Guidelines

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 5, 2005

On July 21, the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) held a workshop to present a draft of their residential green building guidelines.  Virtually no industry representatives were aware that this program was about to be unveiled.  The staff’s intent was to present their model guidelines at this meeting with public comment accepted through August 1, followed by presentation to their Sustainability and Market Development Committee on September 13 and to the CIWMB board meeting on September 20-21.

Unfortunately, it appears that these guidelines were put together without input from the industrial community.  To their credit, they have readily agreed to extend the deadline and have an additional meeting with industry on August 11 at 10:00 a.m. at Cal/EPA Headquarters in Sacramento.  

The model guidelines were developed to:
  • Provide local jurisdictions with "plug-‘n-play" tools to implement a residential green building program without the need to devote scarce resources for developing their own program;
  • Provide a common standard that can be used by jurisdictions throughout the state without causing builders the headaches associated with requirements that vary by jurisdiction;
  • Aggregate several varying residential guidelines in order to achieve greater simplicity; and
  • Provide guidelines developed by an independent source.
The guidelines target:
  •  Homeowners, do-it-yourselfers and remodelers;
  • Builders, designers and building professionals; and
  • Local government.
The guidelines utilize an assigned points system and address everything from development siting to landscaping to products used in construction, fixtures and furnishings.  They attempt to deal with recyclability, toxicity, energy efficiency, water conservation and air pollution, as well as other environmental impacts.

Although these guidelines are meant to be voluntary, some local governments have already voiced the opinion that, when finalized, they intend to mandate that developers devote a given percentage of new homes in their new developments to meeting these guidelines.

The guidelines can be viewed at the Green Building Website.

If you would like to be included in the August 11 meeting with CIWMB staff on this topic, contact CMTA’s environmental lobbyist, Mike Rogge at

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