Green building, also referred to as green construction or sustainable building, is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction. The focus of the green building strategies is on energy efficiency, water conservation, reuse of materials, reduction of artificial lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation; and optimizing human health. New construction and additions or upgrades can incorporate and benefit from green building techniques. Multiple organizations have programs offering financial incentives for completing home improvements that result in energy efficiency and conservation upgrades. More information is available at Green Financing.
The City of Clayton requires that all new buildings, alterations, and additions shall meet the requirements of the 2016 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen). There are a multitude of resources as well as organizations available on green building, such as the following:
Contra Costa County has created the Green Building Guidelines for New Construction and Home Remodeling, which is available for download and contains a wealth of information regarding the fundamentals of green building, the benefits, the costs, and checklists for energy efficiency, water conservation and other green building principals.
Build It Green is an organization focused on the adoption of green practices for home construction. Build It Green offers trainings, support, and programs for building professionals, non-profits, and government agencies. Build It Green also has a list of certified architects and builders with an extensive database of green products, materials, and technologies.
U.S. Green Building Council has an extensive collection of green building resources, case studies, trainings, and certifications and is also home to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED is a green building program that includes a set of rating systems for the construction, design, operation, and maintenance of buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that aims for environmentally responsible construction and the effective use of resources.
There are numerous governmental funding programs supporting green building initiatives:
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a mechanism for financing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency improvements by allowing residential and commercial property owners to finance up to 100% with little or no up-front costs and pay it off over time as a voluntary property tax assessment through their existing property tax bill. The City of Clayton has authorized the following PACE programs within its jurisdiction:
BayREN implements, through the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), energy saving programs on a regional level and develops and administers climate, resource, and sustainability programs. Eligible improvements include duct sealing, air sealing, high-efficiency appliances, energy efficient windows, and insulation. Currently BayREN is offering through Home Upgrade incentives up to $5,500 for energy upgrades to single-family homes.
The Go Solar campaign is a joint effort of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission. The goal is to encourage Californians to install 3,000 megawatts of solar energy systems on homes and businesses. The website provides information for solar programs, rebates, tax credits, and information on installing and interconnecting solar electric and solar thermal systems.
The Weatherization Program is a Federal and State funded program with a purpose of assisting low and/or fixed income households in making their homes more energy efficient. The program is available to renters or property owners. Upon approval of your application, an inspector will conduct an evaluation of the home to determine appropriate energy saving measures.
The Neighborhood Preservation Program provides loans to low- and moderate-income persons to eliminate conditions that may be detrimental go public health, life, property, and/or public welfare. NPP provides financial assistance to low-income homeowners to eliminating blight, bringing buildings up to code, improving energy efficiency, promoting accessibility, and enhancing older neighborhoods in an effort to encourage future investment and the growth of economically integrated communities.