Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council adopted a new green building ordinance Aug. 4, requiring most new construction to follow environmental guidelines, effective January 2010.
The ordinance doesn't mention any rating systems by name, but the city's ad hoc green building committee used Build It Green standards as a reference point for the residential checklist, and the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for its non-residential checklist.
Step Up 2 Green, a new rating system pioneered by Michael Waxer of Carmel Development Company and the Monterey County Business Council, is not mentioned in the agenda packet—a point that seemed particularly tender.
Mayor Sue McCloud said she'd received a call from Waxer asking the city to make the ordinance generic, rather than pinning it to the commonly used BIG and LEED standards. Kevin Stone, director of government affairs with the Monterey County Association of Realtors and contributor to the Step Up 2 Green effort, used wordy rhetorical flourishes to discourage the industry standards.
"From what I understand, all seem to be in agreement that the city does not want to create the inference that they are somehow giving any power to these non-local business entities," he said of BIG and LEED.
Michael Waxer later explains that SU2G is intended for small-scale home improvements, while Carmel's ordinance applies to bigger remodeling and construction jobs that require permits.
While the city's ordinance is regulatory, Waxer—who embraces the concept of voluntary over mandatory greening—hopes the city will add a program to reward homeowners who make incremental, eco-conscious home improvements with guidance from SU2G's simple checklist.
“In general we’re very supportive [of a green building ordinance], because this is how you want to build anyways,” Waxer says. "We just want to make sure the green ordinance in Carmel continues the precedent of allowing citizens to seize the incentives. Step Up 2 Green is intended not to be involved in the ordinance. It’s entirely on the incentive level.”
McCloud said the ordinance isn't ready for adoption yet, citing as one example its failure to distinguish between real and artificial turf. (She has said she's interested in installing a fake lawn at her own house, a contentious issue in Carmel.)
Councilman Gerard Rose countered that the city should adopt the ordinance first, then work out the kinks. "We're recognizing it's preliminary," he said. "I'd like to see this thing get off the ground."
Councilwoman Karen Sharp, who sits on the green building committee, agreed, noting that the ordinance doesn't go into effect until 2010.
McCloud was eventually persuaded, and the ordinance passed unanimously.