April 7-9, 2008
Greening the Golden
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has committed government to leading
by example, showing California’s private sector – and the nation – the
path to a sustainable future.
state of unsurpassed bounty, California is also a place of contradictions.
Blessed with some of the most spectacular wilderness on Earth, it is also
home to some of the nation’s most polluted urban areas. With the world’s
eighth-largest economy, California occupies a unique position on the
national stage. It has a long-standing reputation for leadership in
environmental protection and is known for implementing regulations and
standards more rigorous than those set at the federal level.
the leadership of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California is entering
the “century of the environment” with a new level of commitment to
environmental stewardship, going as far as making the practice of
sustainability part of the fabric of government itself. One of the aims of
this strategy is to make government facilities a proving ground,
demonstrating to the private sector that “greening” the workplace has a
wide range of benefits, from cost savings to worker satisfaction and
productivity. And as California sets the bar higher and higher in
mandating the use of environmentally friendly practices and products,
industry has responded by developing and marketing them.
these efforts, the state hopes to set the pace for government efforts all
over the country. Legislators have worked in an unusually cooperative,
bi-partisan manner to develop new legal frameworks for environmental
protection. State agencies, commissions and action teams are maintaining
focus on implementing new programs and attaining goals.
concerned would like to see even more activity, when compared to the
near-glacial pace at which government reform generally proceeds, the
progress to date is truly remarkable. To fully appreciate what
California’s state government has undertaken, it’s important to look at
the whole package. From addressing climate change, to purchasing practices
that reduce pollution and waste, to mandating increased energy efficiency
for all state buildings, California state is redefining the concept of
The Green Action Team
Action Team, created to implement the Governor’s Green Building Initiative
(Executive Order S-20-04). Chaired by Rosario Marin, Secretary of State in
Consumer Services, it has been overseeing an ambitious plan to
retro-commission all large government buildings for energy efficiency and
to integrate sustainable building practices in all new government
buildings. Under the auspices of the Department of General Services, 187
out of 250 buildings larger than 50,000 square feet have been benchmarked
(a process of setting the energy efficiency standard for the building). By
the end of next year, all 1,566 occupied state buildings will have been
benchmarked and will be ready for energy enhancements. Thirty-one of the
250 benchmarked buildings are scheduled for retro-commissioning this year,
with 25 more scheduled for next year.
Undertaking such a huge
number of projects is uncharted territory for any government entity, but
it’s only part of the story. In addition, six new government buildings
have been LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
Sixty-four more new buildings are pursuing LEED certification.
state government leases almost nine million square feet of office, storage
and other space. Under the Executive Order, preference is given to lessors
who provide energy efficient buildings. The Department of Motor Vehicles
in Riverside, California, is the first build-to-suit lease that has been
certified with a Silver LEED rating.
“The Governor’s strong
position on these programs is a major factor in their success,” said
Secretary Marin. “At the building level, or at the agency level, the main
barrier to change is lack of executive support. We don’t have that
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