The California Green Building Standards is the first-in-the-nation mandatory green building standards code. Voluntary for the time being, it will become mandatory on January 1, 2011. Once a building passes the inspection process, the property can then be labeled as CALGreen compliant.

“This is something no other state in the country has done – integrating green construction practices into the very fabric of the construction code,” said Tom Sheehy, Acting Secretary of the California State and Consumer Services Agency and Chair of the Building Standards Commission.

“CALGreen will essentially revolutionize the way we build structures. By implementing a sensible, cost-effective foundation of green practices, our state will usher in a new era of greener communities,” said Sheehy.

Among the new requirements under CALGreen, every new building in California will have to reduce water consumption by 20 percent, divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills and install low VOC materials. Separate indoor and outdoor water meters for nonresidential buildings and moisture-sensing irrigation systems for large landscape projects will be required. There will be mandatory inspections of energy systems, such as furnaces and air conditioners for nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet. According to the California Air Resources Board, the mandatory provisions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,000,000 metric tons by 2020.

For more info, read an interview with David Walls, Executive Director of CBSC.