Implications of California Green Building Codes for Pacific Palisades Builders

The new Green Building Codes that California implemented in 2011 have led Pacific Palisades custom home builders to quickly adapt construction practices to meet the new green code requirements. The new codes cover many aspects of construction, from foundation to finish whether the project is a remodel or new construction.

While some custom home builders claim that implementing these green codes will make the construction process more complicated and costly, this is not accurate.  Knowledgeable custom home builders in the Pacific Palisades area or surrounding areas will likely have been implementing many of these requirements in their custom home building and custom remodeling for many years, especially if they have built a LEED certified custom home or have followed the LEED practices to the best of their abilities when building.

Although it is a process to adjust to new codes and ordinances, the potential impact is priceless; additionally, since California is the first state to implement green building codes, Pacific Palisades custom home builders can be proud to be trail-blazing in green construction.  Green construction supports environmentally friendly building practices, which are good for the home owners’ long-term budget and health with a low VOC home environment.

Some of the green code changes are easy to implement such as ensuring all appliances meet Energy Star standards including bathroom exhaust fans, irrigation systems with weather sensors, future wiring and connections for an electric vehicle, and solar panels for electrical and/or hot water.  If home builders are not ready for installing solar panels, they can plan roof space for solar panels as well as install the required conduits for the collectors and sub panel for future plans.

A simple, but perhaps complex code change that Pacific Palisades custom home builders will have to contend with includes lower plumbing fixture flow rates. This decrease in water could potentially lead to problems if the entire plumbing drain system is not engineered effectively, specifically meeting the new standards that create lower flow rates.  A well-planned system will anticipate these changes to eliminate potential clogging.

Another green code policy requires that all water, used for construction or from rainfall during construction, be contained on the construction site so the water does not flow into storm drain systems.  Reducing contaminated runoff during construction will further protect Southern California’s streams, beaches, oceans and local wildlife.

One of the most important green code changes for Pacific Palisades custom home builders and remodelers is the regulation decreasing VOC’s, which may directly effect those living in a newly constructed or a remodeled home. These requirements affect the types of paints, sealants, coatings, adhesives, wood floors, carpets, rugs and other finishes, which all need to comply with VOC limits.

As a whole, adapting these changes requires Pacific Palisades custom home builders to primarily reduce waste, conserve energy, protect the environment, and create healthier homes.

Written by Miguel Luna for Avalon Construction Corp

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