San Jose, Calif., sets new green building standardsby Rena Ragimova
In September 2008, San Jose, Calif., adopted a green building policy
to reduce energy and water consumption in new residential, commercial
and industrial construction projects. The policy is a step forward for
San Jose’s Green Vision, which sets a goal that 50 million square feet
of buildings built or retrofitted in the City will be “green” within 15
The San Jose green building policy stipulates the following:
- Checklists based on the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Build It Green's GreenPoint standards are to be used for all new buildings regardless of type or size.
- Commercial and industrial buildings that are 25,000 square feet or more must meet LEED Silver standards.
- Residential developments of 10 or more units are to meet basic LEED certification standards or achieve 50 points under the GreenPoint rating system.
- Housing structures that are 75 feet high or taller are required to meet basic LEED standards.
- Starting in 2012, commercial and industrial buildings of 10,000 square feet or more and residential buildings 75 feet high or taller must meet LEED Silver standards.
San Jose’s green building policy will help the City meet several of its Green Vision goals:
- Goal #2: Reduce per capita energy use by 50%
- Goal #3: Receive 100% of our electrical power from clean renewable sources
- Goal #5: Divert 100% of the waste from our landfill and convert waste to energy
- Goal #6: Recycle or beneficially reuse 100% of our wastewater (l00 million gallons per day)
The policy will also help San Jose comply with California’s AB 32 law, with requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state to 1990 levels by 2020. According to the California Air Resources' Board, buildings are the second largest contributor to California's greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately one-quarter of the greenhouse gases emitted in 2004 can be attributed to buildings.
[Sources: Greenerbuildings.com, City of San Jose]