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May 3, 2006 8:05 AM CDT

Green California

By

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration unveiled a sweeping new "Green California" website, based on his vision of an energy efficient and environmentally friendly California.

The new website is filled with ideas, guidelines, reference materials, engineering data and environmentally friendly purchasing information to assist state and local government agencies and California businesses with the shift toward environmental sustainability, energy conservation and the reduction of landfill waste.

"We believe this new website will become the primary 'go to' site - the new, centralized, electronic reference library - for engineers, architects, building managers, contractors, purchasing agents and other business and government officials and environmentalists in their quest for a Green California,'" said State and Consumer Services Agency Secretary Rosario Marin. "It will be a constantly expanding resource, as more and more links, web pages and data are added. We believe it will demonstrate with facts and figures that environmentally smart business decisions can also save big bucks, while making life healthier for all of us."

The site, www.green.ca.gov, is focused primarily on two broad areas. It provides, in a single location, vital reference materials for the design, construction, benchmarking and operation of green buildings. It also provides government and business purchasing officials with detailed information on environmentally friendly products and services, such as office supplies, paper products, office machines, vehicle supplies, building materials, medical supplies, etc.

In a December 2004 executive order, Schwarzenegger launched an aggressive action plan to reduce California's energy purchases for the thousands of state-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2015, while conserving other scarce natural resources. The executive order also urged local governments, K-12 schools, universities, community colleges and business organizations to adopt the same ambitious goals. The new website provides vital reference material and "how to do it" guidelines to implement that vision.

The governor proposed to achieve the 20 percent energy reduction by designing, constructing, operating and renovating state-owned buildings to meet the high standards of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver rating (LEED Silver) and by leasing office space in buildings with a federal Energy Star rating. He also directed the state architect in the California Department of General Services to adopt guidelines to encourage California schools built with state funds to be resource and energy efficient.

In the private sector, the governor pointed out that commercial buildings use 36 percent of California's electricity and account for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, raw material consumption and waste. By adopting the practices outlined in his executive order, Schwarzenegger said, California could save $2 billion of the $12 billion in electricity consumed every year by the state's commercial and institutional buildings.

California law now requires all departments of state government to practice Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), buying goods and services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment. The Green California website includes a complete online version of the EPP Best Practices Manual. Among other things, it shows officials how to write environmental specifications into their bid solicitations.

For more information, visit www.green.ca.gov.


About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.

 

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