CALGreen Carbon Reduction Collaborative (CCRC)

Envisioning a New Role for California’s Building Code in Reducing Carbon in the Built Environment
AIA CA is proud to be among the founding entities of the CCRC, recently launched under the joint auspices of the Division of the State Architect, the Building Standards Commission, and the Department of Housing and Community Development. This working group is taking a broad look at how the California Green Building Standards Code, Part 11 of Title 24 (CALGreen) can better serve California in supporting a movement toward a sustainable, climate-supportive, resilient, and equitable future. Ongoing discussions include a number of potential additions to CALGreen, such as:

  • Embodied carbon
    Because of the speed at which climate deterioration is occurring, it is essential to include the large near-term impacts of embodied carbon in our assessments. For example, when a building is torn down, much of the carbon used to construct it in the first place is immediately released back into the environment. Even a very high performing new building can take many decades to recover from this impact. Embodied carbon is a complex topic, so we are focusing on a limited number of materials where there has already been significant research and development, such as concrete which is a key component of every building.
  • Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment
    Looking at greenhouse gas emissions from a whole building perspective is also going to be very important in limiting climate deterioration. Having the knowledge of what the actual impacts are is important to making the right decisions about design, materials, and AIA CA is suggesting starting with very large buildings of a limited range of occupancy types to get the industry familiar with using these analytical tools effectively.
  • Zero Net Carbon Design
    AIA CA has been successful in a recent effort to require California’s licensed architects to acquire continuing education in the nuts and bolts of designing buildings that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Establishing a framework for the terminology, metrics and practices in this evolving field is essential to our sustainable future as a state.
  • Tier System 
    With over 50 California jurisdictions adopting reach codes, the CALGreen tier system is an underutilized framework that could increase consistency and reduce the cost of adoption, implementation and follow through for AIA CA is interested in finding ways to use this CalGreen innovation more effectively in future code cycles for the broad benefits it can bring to communities, the building industry, and climate action.
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