As local cities and the county race to go green, Monterey wins the sprint to the green-building finish line.
The Monterey City Council unanimously approved a green building ordinance July 1. While other jurisdictions, including Salinas and Pacific Grove, have been working on similar eco-friendly laws, Monterey is the first area city to adopt such a policy. Under the new ordinance, all new city projects 1,000 square feet or larger will receive at least a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver rating. To receive the certification, building projects earn points for things like conserving water, building near public transportation and using recycled materials and low-emitting paints and adhesives.
“Sustainability is a defining issue of our time,” says Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Sala. “It’s important for folks to realize the interconnection between the environment and our daily activities, and that today’s actions will affect the lives of future generations.”
While new city-funded projects will be required to reach the green benchmark immediately, private developers have a little more time– and flexibility– to implement the new building requirements. During the program’s first year, private developers will be required to complete the GreenPoints checklist, but won’t be required to adhere to any green building requirements. After the one-year, voluntary phase-in period is over, however, all projects will be required to meet the new standards: LEED silver for non-residential and Build It Green’s requirements for residential.
Building Official John Kuehl says he hopes other cities and the county will use Monterey’s new program as a model for green ordinances countywide.
“From the development community, what was made clear to us was, ‘Don’t make different programs in every jurisdiction,’ ” he says. “We’re hopeful other jurisdictions will use the Build It Green and the LEED models as their basis.
“We’re hopeful we’ll see a snowball effect. The building industry is going in this direction and the building-code writers are establishing codes to make it mandatory. My guess is that it will be mandatory, statewide, in five or 10 years. It’s the right thing to do. We’re hoping people will embrace it.”
The City Council hears the second reading of the green building program 4pm, Tuesday, July 15, at Council Chambers, corner of Pacific and Madison streets, Monterey. 646-3760.