LAOfficeBuildingIn a classic case of “the devil’s in the details,” Assembly Bill 1103 (“AB 1103”), which mandated the disclosure of energy-usage data of commercial buildings in certain transactions, has yet to be implemented nearly four years after it was first enacted. The legislation set a deadline of January 1, 2010 for building owners selling, leasing or financing an entire non-residential building to deliver energy consumption information utilizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program (EPA Portfolio Manager). (A more comprehensive description of AB 1103 is provided here.) The 2010 deadline was extended indefinitely in 2009 by Assembly Bill 531 to allow the California Energy Commission (CEC) to complete the rule-making process for the adoption of implementing regulations.

So the unanswered question is: When will AB 1103 finally take effect? The answer, for the moment, is that implementation is at least nearly a year away. The earliest possible kick-off date is July 1st of next year. In order to make this schedule, the revised draft regulations issued for public comment in August (Revised Draft Regulations) would need to complete the public comment process followed by adoption of the final regulations by the CEC by late spring 2012.

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Downtown Los AngelesAmid much fanfare, in 2008 the Los Angeles City Council established the Green Building Program requiring, among other things, that most new structures over 50,000 square feet in size be built to the United States Green Building Council (“USGBC”) Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (“LEED”) basic “Certified” standard. To incentivize projects of any size attaining LEED “Silver” or higher equivalence, priority processing was offered. The third element of the City’s Green Building Program was to establish an inter-departmental Green Team to implement and recommend refinements to the Green Building Program. Since then, 28 projects have met the LEED Certified level and an additional 19 projects have received priority processing.

In the interim, the California state legislature adopted the first-in-the-nation green building code, the California Green Building Standards Code known as CALGreen. (Click here for more on CALGreen) All municipalities are required to comply with CALGreen as of January 1st of this year. In addition to the compulsory baseline requirements, CALGreen establishes more stringent “Tier 1” and “Tier 2” discretionary green measures. Under the legislation, local agencies can opt to enact their own version of CALGreen to incorporate the more rigorous “Tier 1” and/or “Tier 2” measures as mandatory.
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New Construction Water Quality Regulations Impose Tough Numeric Limits And Internet Reporting Requirements

The State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) recently adopted toughened standards for water flows generated by construction sites under a new statewide storm water construction general permit, Water at Construction Siteeffective July 1, 2010. The new permit (the “2010 Permit”) replaces the storm water construction general permit in place since 1999 (the “1999 Permit”) and imposes heightened requirements for managing water during construction. The 2010 Permit applies to construction sites of at least one acre and smaller sites that are part of a common development plan.

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California Green BuildingCalifornia’s first-in-the-nation set of mandatory green building standards for new construction is slated to take effect on January 1, 2011. Referred to officially as the California Green Building Standards Code, CALGreen applies to all new public and privately-constructed commercial and residential buildings. Integrated within the state’s Building Standards Code, it includes a matrix of mandatory requirements as well as two sets of voluntary measures tailored to residential and non-residential building classifications.

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Green Commercial Building

Deadline Approaches for Disclosure of Energy Efficiency Rating of Commercial Buildings

One of the ongoing challenges in making the case for “green building” has been to monetize the value of high-efficiency features, such as reduced energy consumption. In a “light-bulb” moment, the California Legislature enacted Assembly Bill 1103 (“AB 1103”) in its 2007 legislative session as a means to assure that a building’s energy efficiency is a factor in certain sale, lease and loan transactions. Specifically, AB 1103 requires disclosure of energy-usage data of commercial buildings utilizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program (“EPA Portfolio Manager”). The thinking behind this new “statistic” is to quantify the benefits of energy-efficiency upgrades by providing a standardized metric for energy performance in the marketplace. With implementing regulations in process, the question is what will be required of building owners as the deadline for compliance approaches?

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