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Measure Would Increase Energy Efficiency in Residential Construction

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Aired 4/19/09

A measure introduced in the California legislature would increase the energy efficiency of all new residential construction. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce tells us future buildings would provide their own energy.

Imagine if your utility bill was only a few dollars a month. That's already the case at a Poway affordable housing complex. The 56-unit community called SOLARA is already producing all the energy it needs every year by using solar and other conservation measures. Lower bills aren't the only benefit -using less power from fossil fuel sources also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

And San Diego Assemblywoman Lori Saldana wants to see that become the state standard in 2020.

Saldana: The ability to have a zero net energy home is already here and it's just applying that now on a statewide basis.

Her assembly bill requires new residential construction to be zero energy buildings. But why wait until 2020 to mandate the change?

Saldana: We want to make sure that builders have time to employ the changes that would be needed, that local utilities who might be working on locally-generated energy have time to get their infrastructure in place.

Saldana says another reason for the 2020 rollout is to allow the use of new energy-saving technologies developed between now and then. The bill gets a committee hearing next week. She says another bill would require zero net energy for new commercial buildings by 2030.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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