County explores adding more green building options

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors asked staffers Wednesday to review the county building code for possible changes that would promote more energy-saving and “green” designs.

The county already waived permit fees for home solar systems, reduced fees for construction projects that meet state energy requirements, and adopted regulations for solar and wind projects, according to Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Supervisor Dave Roberts.

supervisor-county-sealThe county’s Green Building Incentive Program provides expedited permits for projects that use resource-efficient construction materials, include water conservation measures or those in line with state energy efficiency standards, they said.

“I really believe that San Diego County has been on the cutting edge in supporting energy efficiency and green building development through our permit fee waivers for residential photovoltaic, permit fee reductions on construction projects and other things to meet the state’s green-building standards,” Roberts said. “This initiative today will continue in that effort.”

Emerging sustainable building technology and advancements in energy efficiency are increasing the range of options to reduce energy use and costs, which prompted the board to ask staffers to look at trends and technologies to develop potential code updates.

Staffers were given about four months to work up a plan that includes estimates of the time and costs required to implement the potential changes, such as prewiring buildings for rooftop solar, electric vehicle charging or other ways of reducing or preventing a project’s ill-effects on the environment, as opposed to correcting problems after the fact.

Passive solar systems that preheat water and water recirculation systems also will be looked at.

“The goal is for individuals and businesses in this region to be energy independent,” Jacob said.

Jacob and Roberts said the potential changes to the building code may be beneficial and could continue the county’s support for green energy. The supervisors have previously set goals in energy and water conservation and efficiency, sustainability, distributed generation, transportation, consumer choice and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Jacob said that exploring potential green building code changes “aims at finding new opportunities to help consumers and continue making green the color of our future.”

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