Skyscrapers looming from ground with ocean in the background

California’s Green Building Code, CALGreen, will be implementing a first-in-the-nation embodied carbon reduction law.

In the several embodied carbon reduction studies we have completed, we’ve realized that most offsets will be realized in concrete and framing. Modeling may be the simpler path for new building construction.

On Wednesday, Aug. 2, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) came to a unanimous decision, approving two revisions for inclusion in the 2022 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), specifically Title 24, Part 11. These revisions aim to restrict the release of embodied carbon emissions during the “construction, remodel, or adaptive reuse of commercial buildings larger than 100,000 square feet and school projects over 50,000 square feet.” It is currently unclear whether multi-family buildings are impacted.

The upcoming requirements, set to be active across the entire state starting July 1, 2024, amplify the effects of the 2017 Buy Clean California Act (BCCA). This act initially placed restrictions on the amount of embodied carbon allowed in specific construction materials utilized in public projects.

The modifications by the CBSC significantly widen the range of commercial structures subject to BCCA and incorporate concrete into the roster of materials under its purview. The updated code offers three avenues for adherence:

  • Reuse a minimum of 45 percent of an existing building
  • Select materials that do not exceed designated emission limits
  • Meet specific performance-based criteria outlined in a comprehensive assessment of the entire building’s lifecycle.

Reach out to VCA Green for additional guidance to meeting this new standard:

Moe Fakih, Principal

Robyn Vettraino, Principal