In 2018, the state of California passed legislation requiring all new buildings to be zero-energy ready by 2030. As of January 1, 2020, almost every new residential building and most new commercial buildings in the state will have to meet the new standards. When a community decides to become more sustainable, it’s usually because they’ve been hurt by the environment in some way.
These building standards regulate how the building uses energy, limits the amount of waste that is produced, and reduces the impact of the infrastructure on the environment. Because of the size of the state and its population, the legislation has far-reaching consequences.
Will It Work?
To put it simply, yes. Across the country, states like California that have implemented similar building standards have seen significant reductions in energy consumption. In 2018, California residents accounted for nearly 30% of the country’s energy use. By 2025, that share is expected to drop by 20% because of the state’s ambitious building and energy policies.
Solar energy in particular will play a huge role in achieving those goals. Not only does solar power generate electricity without contributing to climate change, but it uses nearly zero natural resources and emits no air pollutants. In an era when natural resources are more scarce than ever, including oil and gas, wind and solar energy provide an alternative that is both eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Even better, when you combine solar with battery storage, you get an unstoppable source of electricity that won’t consume more natural resources than you produce. This is the type of energy the state of California is looking to move en masse.
While it’s always good to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels, California voted for these building standards to address a specific issue: climate change. As the state is well aware, its geographical location makes it especially prone to natural disasters. When extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires disrupt the everyday lives of California residents, they realize that their energy security depends on renewable sources of power.
Because of this, the state implemented a target of reducing its carbon footprint by 2030. The only way to achieve that is by changing the way they use energy now.
In the next five years, California is expected to lead the country in solar installations. To take advantage of that trend, the state has decided it’s time to upgrade its infrastructure and allow for greater diversity in the way that it generates energy. While the sun isn’t always going to shine and the wind isn’t always going to blow, they can be relied on to produce energy at almost all times.
This legislation isn’t the state’s only sustainable energy plan. In 2020, California will also require all new vehicles to be zero-emission or hybrids. It also plans to ban new fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2023. All of these policies are meant to help the environment without damaging the economy. If you’re curious about what California is trying to achieve, you can check out their web page devoted to explaining the new legislation
and its impacts
There’s no question that California is doing its part to reduce emissions and be more resource-friendly. If you’re interested in taking further action, you can help by supporting energy-saving lightbulbs and appliances, turning off unnecessary electronics when you aren’t using them, and driving a car that meets certain fuel efficiency standards. You can also help by buying organic foods and avoiding buying products with plastic packaging.