Buildings

Buildings and their construction together account for 35 percent of global energy use and 38 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program. In the United States, residential and commercial buildings accounted for 40 percent of energy consumption in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In California, the most populous of the United States, the California Air Resources Board identifies the building sector as the second largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state, surpassed only by transportation.

The Building sector offers great potential to reduce GHG emissions. Recognizing the GHG emissions associated with buildings, building efficiency standards and standardized building codes have been developed to reduce energy use and associated emissions. Locally mandated “stretch” or “reach” codes require even greater levels of energy efficiency than the state building code. Other local building codes place limits on the embodied energy of building materials. Together, these local codes reduce both energy use and GHG emissions from the design, construction and operation of buildings.

A number of states, including California, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Vermont, and Rhode Island allow local stretch or reach codes to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce building related GHG emissions.

Creating Solar Microgrids for Clean Energy and Resilience

Description: Creating a local microgrid improved resilience, expanded local clean energy production, and reduced dependence on transmission lines and remote electricity generation for the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD). […]

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Description: Creating a local microgrid improved resilience, expanded local clean energy production, and reduced dependence on transmission lines and remote electricity generation for the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD).

Regional air district adopts rule phasing out gas-fired heating appliances

Description: In March of 2023 the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted first-in-nation rules to phase out and eventually prohibit the sale of new natural gas-fired water heaters

Regional air district adopts rule phasing out gas-fired heating appliances Read More »

Description: In March of 2023 the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted first-in-nation rules to phase out and eventually prohibit the sale of new natural gas-fired water heaters

Prohibiting Natural Gas (methane) Infrastructure in New Buildings

Description: This adopted ordinance will prohibit installation of natural gas (methane) infrastructure in new buildings in the city of Berkeley, CA. The ordinance relies on police powers granted by the

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Description: This adopted ordinance will prohibit installation of natural gas (methane) infrastructure in new buildings in the city of Berkeley, CA. The ordinance relies on police powers granted by the

Multi-Building Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

Description: Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana replaced four aging coal-fired boilers with a campus-wide geothermal heat pump heating and cooling system. Built in two phases from 2009 to 2014,

Multi-Building Geothermal Heat Pump Systems Read More »

Description: Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana replaced four aging coal-fired boilers with a campus-wide geothermal heat pump heating and cooling system. Built in two phases from 2009 to 2014,

Using Low Risk Opt-in Loans to Decarbonize Buildings Equitably

Description: In 2019, the Common Council of Ithaca, New York approved the Ithaca Green New Deal (IGND), which allowed the city to assign additional staff and resources to create and

Using Low Risk Opt-in Loans to Decarbonize Buildings Equitably Read More »

Description: In 2019, the Common Council of Ithaca, New York approved the Ithaca Green New Deal (IGND), which allowed the city to assign additional staff and resources to create and

Energy use reporting

Description: Some cities are requiring building owners to publicly disclose the annual energy and water used in their buildings. New York City Local Law 84 initially required buildings larger than

Energy use reporting Read More »

Description: Some cities are requiring building owners to publicly disclose the annual energy and water used in their buildings. New York City Local Law 84 initially required buildings larger than

Create clean energy fund

Description: The Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF), also known as the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, was a measure that appeared on the Portland (Oregon) municipal ballot on November 6, 2018.

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Description: The Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF), also known as the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, was a measure that appeared on the Portland (Oregon) municipal ballot on November 6, 2018.

California reach code for cool roofs and solar PV

Description: Brisbane, CA adopted a local amendment to California’s 2016 Title 24 Building Efficiency Standards. The amendment requires installing cool roofs (reflective roofing that reduces sunlight absorbed by buildings) and solar

California reach code for cool roofs and solar PV Read More »

Description: Brisbane, CA adopted a local amendment to California’s 2016 Title 24 Building Efficiency Standards. The amendment requires installing cool roofs (reflective roofing that reduces sunlight absorbed by buildings) and solar

California reach code requiring solar and living roofs

Description: Effective January 1st, 2017, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to mandate solar and living roofs on most new construction. With the passage of this amendment to California’s

California reach code requiring solar and living roofs Read More »

Description: Effective January 1st, 2017, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to mandate solar and living roofs on most new construction. With the passage of this amendment to California’s

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