Smart cities lookout California

This is the second post in a series on Smart Cities, Dana Cary and Julie Claar are with our Firm as interns in the summermonths and will deliver their findings on our blog. 

   Dana Cary, HOLTROP S.L.P. Transaction & Business Law 

California Paving the Way Toward a Greener Future

One of the leading states in the movement toward creating smart cities is California. Recently the California Energy Commission has created guidelines to heighten their environmental standards for residential and commercial buildings in attempts to reduce their carbon footprint, increase their energy efficiency, and pave their way to a greener future.  By demanding better building codes, the goal is to save consumers money on utility bills, increase comfort in homes, and reduce Co2 emissions.

The California Energy Commission has created a list of stipulations for building codes that will take effect in January 2014.   For residential buildings, these stipulations include creating high performance windows that improve lighting without the gain of excess heat, installing whole house fans to cool homes which will reduce the need for air conditioning, and setting up insulated hot water pipes which will decrease the time it takes water to reach the home, among other stipulations. The measures taken for nonresidential buildings are similar, and include installing high performance windows, mounting solar ready roofs to give businesses the option of adding solar photovoltaic panels in the future, and advancing the building´s lighting controls to reduce electricity levels.

These new standards are estimated to increase the cost of constructing a home by $2,290 but are expected to return more than $6,200 in energy savings over the course of 30 years.   Additionally, these improvements will drastically increase building industry jobs as well as reduce the monthly heating, cooling, and electricity bills for consumers.  While an initially expensive ordeal, it is clear that going green reaps massive economic benefits down the line.