California's green building code, the first of its kind in the nation, takes effect this month, the California Building Standards Commission announced this week.
The code standardizes practices for reducing the environmental impact of buildings in a variety of ways, from cutting water and electricity consumption to using less resource-intensive building materials. Application of the code is currently voluntary. It was adopted last year as a step toward mandatory green building standards, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called for by 2010.
The use of gas, electricity and water in buildings accounts for about a quarter of California's greenhouse-gas emissions. Reducing those emissions is a central strategy in the state's war on global warming.