San Carlos Passes Green Building Ordinance

August 19, 2010

“Green” Point Scale…

Last week, the the San Carlos City Council approved a “Green Building” ordinance which will mandate stringent eco-friendly guidelines for new commercial and residential construction starting in 2011.  The ordinance may also impact some residential remodel projects as well.  San Carlos ordinance is very similar to one that was passed recently by the County of San Mateo for all new residential projects in its unincorporated areas.

Under the San Carlos ordinance, builders will be required to achieve at least 50 “green” points, as outlined on an industry standard checklist from non-profit Build It Green.   According to Shaun Bishop's article, builders can accumulate point by using water efficient fixtures, solar energy systems, or other eco-friendly building techniques.  There are other non-point methods available for builders to gain green approval from the Building Department.   The ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gasses that are a by-product of excessive energy consumption.

Starting in 2011.

The ordinance takes effect in 2011, and will obviously have an impact on larger residential remodel projects throughout San Carlos.   If you have any questions regarding this ordinance, contact Chris Valley in the San Carlos Building Department.

While the City is trying to minimize the cost impact of these projects, it's pretty clear that going green will likely cost homeowners some additional green.

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  1. Pat B on August 19, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Are you sure there are Green Points involved? It sounded to me like Chris Valley was saying he would not use either green rating system, green points or LEED. He tried to make that sound like a good thing. Our ordinance is really wimpy compared to other nearby cities and not what the climate action plan calls for. It is nowhere near what was originally offered to San Carlos Green, Cool Cities, and other stake holders. It got watered down and watered down until it was very, very, light green. My understanding is that ours is basically the minimum allowed by the state.

  2. bill on August 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Outrageous! Yet another government intrusion into our lives. More government, more bureacracy, more cost to residents and developers alike, ultimately leading to higher housing prices overall. Only the nefarious “green consultants” benefit from this ridiculously complex ordinance…..and of course they’re the ones who write these laws and lobby for them in the first place. Shame on the council for sneaking this far-reaching decision by the public without more notice, hearings, etc. Once again, our council is doing everything possible to discourage growth and development in our town (and its attendant tax revenue), while crying poor and cutting services.

  3. Suzanne on August 20, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Shaun’s story is incorrect. City Staff, over the objections from many residents, did not include a GreenPoint or LEED requirement in the “green” building ordinance. All that will be required is a higher score on the Title 24 reports.

  4. Pat B on August 20, 2010 at 5:20 am

    And they had the nerve to be proud of not requiring much more than the bare minimum allowed by the State.

  5. transient on August 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Kudos to Chris Valley and the city staff for allowing individual owners to decide what is best for their individual situations. The residents who wish to meet the higher requirements are certainly free to upgrade as they wish.

  6. bay area home remodeling on November 18, 2010 at 5:46 am

    hope that everyone takes their part in making their buildings greener… its for the better, we should do our part in lessening our carbon footprint here on earth.

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