"If All the Greedy People that Pollute can get Together & Show Strength in Unity – then Honest, Environmentalists Must Do the Same. You See – It’s as Simple As That.” George C. Keefe - ENCASEMENT Guy

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California's Bold Step Towards a Greener Future: Reducing Embodied Carbon

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In the ever-evolving landscape of sustainability, California, one of my home states has emerged as a beacon of progress, continuously pushing the boundaries of environmentally conscious practices.

The latest development in this ongoing journey is a groundbreaking update to the state's building codes, set to take effect in July 2024.

This forward-looking initiative is poised to revolutionize the construction industry by addressing a critical yet often overlooked aspect of environmental impact: embodied carbon emissions.

Embodied carbon refers to the emissions generated throughout a building's entire lifecycle, including manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, disassembly, and waste disposal of construction materials.

Unfortunately, this issue has not always received the attention it deserves in building policies. Several factors have contributed to this oversight.

The intricate nature of material supply chains has made it challenging to track and manage embodied carbon.

Overcoming technological barriers to decarbonization has proven to be a complex and multifaceted task.

The absence of standardized data has further complicated efforts to address embodied carbon.

California has a storied history of leadership in sustainability, that I have witnessed first-hand, dating back to the 1970s when it introduced an energy code.

Also a leader in restricting amounts of VOC’s coming from paints which was one of the factors in directly influencing my decision to provide only Green Coatings to the market.

In the past decade, the state has been at the forefront of eco-friendly practices with the introduction of the mandatory statewide green building code known as CALGreen.

This legacy of pioneering sustainability measures continues to evolve.

Just last month, California achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first state in the nation to mandate the reduction of embodied carbon emissions.

The unanimous vote in favor of two building code changes signifies California's unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship.

The two building code changes are designed to target embodied carbon emissions in commercial buildings exceeding 100,000 square feet and schools spanning over 50,000 square feet.

These changes are set to come into effect on July 1, 2024, heralding a new era of sustainable construction practices.

To meet the new standards, projects have the flexibility to choose from three compliance paths.

The first path encourages the reuse of at least 45% of an existing structure, minimizing the need for new construction materials and reducing embodied carbon.

The second option requires the use of materials that fall within specified emission limits, promoting the selection of environmentally friendly materials.

And the third choice offers a performance-based compliance approach, allowing the use of a whole building life cycle assessment analysis to assess and minimize environmental impact throughout a building's lifecycle.

The adoption of these groundbreaking codes was made possible through a coalition led by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) California, with the support of organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Their collective efforts highlight the importance of collaboration in advancing sustainability.

The significance of California's code changes extends far beyond state lines.

With its massive economy and influential position, these changes are expected to catalyze a nationwide shift towards sustainable construction practices.

Moreover, they are poised to spark innovation in building materials and methodologies across the United States.

California's commitment to reducing embodied carbon emissions marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future.

As these changes take effect in 2024, they set the stage for a transformative shift in the construction industry, setting a remarkable example for the entire nation.

Myself and GEI (Global Encasement, Inc.), stand ready to support this green revolution with our eco-friendly Green Coatings Encasement, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable world.

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Share your thoughts,support our mission and help the community to know more about safeguarding our planet's brighter Future.

“If All the Greedy People that Pollute can get Together & Show Strength in Unity – then Honest, Environmentalists Must Do the Same. You See – It’s as Simple As That.”

George C. Keefe/ENCASEMENT Guy


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