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BIA sponsors green building program

The Building Industry Association, Desert Chapter is proud to announce its sponsorship of California Building Industry Association's (CBIA) California Green Builder Program.

As California already has the toughest energy conservation and environmental regulations in the nation, CBIA has forged a trail of establishing higher standards for energy conservation and efficiency, and environmental health. The California Green Building (CGB) Program, as recognized by the State of California Energy Commission, has a total of five forming parts: higher energy efficiency, conservation of water, interior air quality improvements, wood conservation and construction waste diversion. Each category of this voluntary program has its own standards that must be met in order to go "green."

Energy efficiency is established at 15 percent energy savings above current California Building Standards Title 24. This will be accomplished by design improvements, engineered tight HVAC systems, advanced materials and efficient air conditioning systems certified by a HERS rater.

Water conservation efforts to reduce usage by 20,000 gallons per home will be accomplished by landscape design, using drought tolerant vegetation, high-efficiency drip irrigation systems and weather-based irrigation controllers, and innovative interior plumbing systems and fixtures.

Improved interior air quality is achieved through advanced ventilation and filtration. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America has designed protocols that will ensure adequate ventilation, while both conserving energy and improving air quality. Using engineered ducting/design and Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) 6 filters reduces particulate elements and allergens in the air. Additionally, the CGB program requires the use of low or no volatile organic compounds in the construction materials. For example: paint, carpeting and adhesive compounds.

Wood conservation will be met by using engineered wood products manufactured with feed stock primarily from sustainable forests. Wood is saved by cutting and fitting in a controlled environment using computer controlled saws, which make accurate compound cuts to maximize efficiency of wood products. At least 50 percent of construction waste must be diverted from landfills. Generally, residential construction waste accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of solid waste in California each year. Reducing the amount of job-site waste helps the environment and local jurisdictions to comply with state recycling and reduction of waste requirements. This state law established mandatory goals for 2001; however, many cities are having difficulties meeting this requirement.

To make this program effective, BIA Desert Chapter has teamed up with the Imperial Irrigation District to provide incentives to those builders who choose to go green. This incentive takes the form of rebates offered for qualifying energy-efficient appliances and building improvements. IID energy has pledged more than $500,000 toward support of the program. The utility will be offering builders rebates and cost off-sets up to $1,700 per home. Rebates will be dependant upon individual home/model design and the amount of energy efficiency achieved.

Following IID's lead, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a resolution of the County of Imperial California, declaring support for the CGB program. As a voluntary energy resource saving design for residential construction, establishing cost-effective ways to protect our environment by improving air quality, reducing pollution and conserving scarce natural resources. The county of Imperial seeks to improve innovative methods and residential construction technologies to reduce residential energy and resource consumption to achieve its sustainable goals. The county will provide leadership and guidance in planning facilitating and instituting these voluntary practices.

As an added incentive, the federal government allows up to a $2,000 tax credit for exceeding 2004 International Energy Conservation Code by 50 percent. This goal is similar to California's 15 percent above Title 24.

The Building Industry Association has received a great deal of support and interest from builders looking for that sales marketing edge. Many buyers seek to reduce their personal environmental impact while receiving the benefit of lower water and energy bills. With the incentives currently available from local and federal agencies, there is little end cost to consumers. Builders will have the final marketing tool to make their sales goals. With today's housing market conditions, any additional benefit available to the consumer with little added cost of construction will give the green builder the advantage in production sales.

It's cool to go green in California's desert cities with California Green Builder Program, Imperial Irrigation District and the support of the county of Imperial.

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