Always in the lead for change, California placed another feather in its cap when the state’s Building Standards Commission announced the unanimous adoption of the nation’s first statewide green building code.

The new California Green Building Standards Code goes beyond the state’s current building standards. It is expected to result in significant improvements in water usage for both commercial and residential plumbing fixtures and targets a 50 percent landscape water conservation reduction. The code also pushes builders to reduce energy use of their structures by 15 percent more than today’s current standards. The new code declares the minimum California will accept in environmentally friendly design. Local jurisdictions and builders are encouraged to exceed those standards.

California’s new building standards will achieve greater water and energy savings by encouraging the use of more efficient appliances, landscapes, building design and operation. The code also encourages the use of recycled materials in carpets and building materials.

Additionally, the new code contains standards for single-family homes, health facilities and commercial buildings.

The code is composed of optional standards that will become mandatory in the 2010 edition of the code. This adjustment period will allow for industry and local enforcement agencies to prepare for and comply with the new green building standards.

Moving forward after 2010, the California Green Building Standards Code will be updated on an annual basis to ensure the latest technology and methods of construction have been incorporated to maintain a high level of standards.