California Policy Corner: Looking forward to 2019 | U.S. Green Building Council
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See the latest in California policy and advocacy news.

As we’ve seen over the past year, California has firsthand experience in facing impacts from a changing climate, perpetual earthquake risks and increasing threat of wildfires. California is among the leaders in the world for adopting innovative policies to combat climate change, and state leadership continues to make advancements to protect communities, residents and natural resources, including the implementation of several recent bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Below is a rundown of all of the bills and executive orders passed in California on this topic.

  • Executive Order B-55-18 to Achieve Carbon Neutrality establishes a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
  • Senate Bill 100, The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, sets a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state by 2045.
  • Senate Bill 720 promotes instruction in environmental literacy, updating the requirements to develop environmental principles and concepts for elementary and secondary school pupils to formally include climate change.
  • Senate Bill 1072, the Regional Climate Collaborative Program, establishes a regional climate collaborative program to assist under‑resourced communities with accessing grant money for climate change mitigation and adaptation‑related projects.
  • Senate Bill 1477, the TECH Initiative and BUILD Program, would develop and supervise the administration of the Technology and Equipment for Clean Heating (TECH) Initiative and of the Building Initiative for Low-Emissions Development (BUILD) Program. These programs advance the market for low-emission space and water heating equipment and provide incentives for the deployment of near-zero emission building technologies.
  • Assembly Bill 2195 directs the California Air Resources Board to track GHG emissions from natural gas leakage and venting during the production, processing and transport of natural gas imported into California.
  • Assembly Bill AB 3232 directs the California Energy Commission to assess the potential for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial buildings by 40 percent by 2030.

How can we continue to help California be the cleanest, greenest, most resilient economy?  As we look toward 2019, what additional steps should we be advocating for to continue this progress?

Here are a few sources of inspiration:

  • ACEEE State Scorecard. While California and Massachusetts continue to be neck and neck for the top spot on the annual ACEEE State Scorecard, Massachusetts was the top state again in 2018 for energy efficiency policy. The scorecards are a great resource, providing a benchmark of state energy policy and progress, and helps drill down into areas where a state can benefit from improvements.
  • Greenbuild 2018. Greenbuild Chicago is just around the corner, and California projects and professionals will be on prominent display throughout the conference. Be sure to visit the dozens of California companies on the Expo Hall floor and learn from the many education sessions with California content, and share your thoughts with us.
  • Green infrastructure. Green infrastructure looks to nature for advice, restoring and replicating ecological systems for our health and benefit. It can include green roofs, bioswales and rain gardens. Permeable surfaces are considered green infrastructure as well, because they handle rainfall the same way natural landscapes do. Check out Green infrastructure: Back to Basics, a compilation of a five-part series of articles on the implementation and benefits of green infrastructure. Also available is a resource specifically for legislators, offering a menu of green infrastructure policy options.

As California continues to position itself as a major leader in legislative policies that further sustainability, we look forward to seeing what 2019 will bring for green building in the state.