Building Standards

Building standards refers to voluntary or mandated industry standards for construction or upgrade of buildings that result in increased energy efficiency and overall less dependence on fossil or, for that matter alternative fuels: a sort of “best management practices” for construction. Implementing these and other energy and water conserving building techniques reduces the overall need for fuel consumption and GHG emissions by improving efficiency. California has created a number of energy efficiency building standards (see California Energy Commission compliance manuals at http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2005standards/index.html). Examples of energy-saving building techniques include choosing building sites that will preserve green space and maximize access to public transportation and basic services; orienting buildings to benefit from passive heating, daylight, and natural cooling; strategically planting deciduous trees for summer shade and winter light; incorporating solar water heating and photovoltaics; using “green” or renewable building supplies; and installing high-efficiency lights (http://doerr.org/services/residential-checklist.html). Sonoma County's Green Building Program will be based on the latest California energy standards and green point rated systems such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Build It Green (BIG) programs. Sonoma Mountain Village, is a sustainable mixed-use neighborhood in Rohnert Park, Sonoma County that has been selected for the US Green Building Council LEED program and targets the highest, Platinum-level. See “Energy Efficiency Programs.”