California Government to Shrink Its Carbon FootprintMay 23, 2012
A new executive order from California’s Governor Jerry Brown takes direct aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in state-owned and leased buildings.
In the press release issued the end of April, the Governor is quoted, “Doing something real about the growing threat of global warming requires more than just new laws. We must lead by example. Greening the state’s buildings will shrink our environmental footprint and save taxpayers millions of dollars.”
The executive order calls for new or renovated state buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED “Silver” certification or higher and to incorporate clean, on-site power generation, such as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind power generation and clean back-up power supplies.
The order also sets a target of zero net energy consumption for 50% of the square footage of existing state-owned buildings by 2025 and zero net energy consumption from all new or renovated state buildings beginning design after 2025.
Additionally, the executive order directs state agencies and departments to:
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline;
• Reduce overall water use by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline; and
• Reduce grid-based energy purchases and other non-building, grid-based retail energy purchases by 20% by 2018, as compared to a 2003 baseline.
Under the directive, state agencies and departments will also purchase and use environmentally preferable products and provide electric vehicle charging stations at employee parking facilities in new and existing buildings.
The new executive order supercedes an earlier one issued in 2004, which set the stage for state government to demonstrate its commitment to shrinking its carbon footprint. In comparing the two, the new order mandates specific steps and practices for agencies and sets measurable goals and a timetable.
State departments will receive further details on the implementation of the new policies in the executive order from the Department of General Services and CalEPA.
Inside or outside of California state government, the Governor’s executive order sets a clear direction for the state’s future and should be a useful reference and inspiration for green teams everywhere.