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  • Archive for April 29th, 2011

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    CALGreen, the nation’s first statewide green building code, is now mandatory for all new construction.  Training on this new code is now more important than ever.  Green Technology’s CALGreen training, developed in partnership with the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development, has proven the most popular and effective introduction to this new code.  Here are dates for upcoming seminars:

    • May 18, Oakland
    • June 8, Los Angeles
    • June 22, San Francisco
    • July 13, San Diego
    • July 20, Sacramento
    • July 27, Anaheim
    • August 10, San Jose
    • August 24, Los Angeles
    • September 7, Oakland

    For more information and a full list of our upcoming seminars, click here.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The CEC has an upcoming workshop scheduled on May 5.  Please let us know if you have issues of interest at this proceeding.  If you want to participate directly follow the link for more information:

    May 5 Workshop on draft revisions for Nonresidential Building for possible inclusion in the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.

    Industry MUST provide input into this process – your help is needed!

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Given discussions at California Energy Commission (CEC) hearings and workshops over the past five months, the CEC is about to kick-off the biggest update of its standards in the 35-year history of that commission. Even though comparisons show the California Energy Efficiency Standards as being 50% more stringent than similar standards used at the national level, the CEC is proposing to increase the level of stringency for new commercial buildings in California by another 15%-20%.

    While the new standards will not take effect until January of 2014, almost all development of the new standards will occur between now and June of 2011. The regulatory calendar released by the CEC is as follows:

    • April-June 2011: CEC conducts pre-rulemaking workshops
    • August 2011 – February of 2012: CEC formal rulemaking
    • March 2012: CEC adopts new standards
    • January 1, 2014: New standards take effect throughout the state

    For more information see the CEC’s 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards information page.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Building Standards Commission (BSC), Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Office of the State Fire Marshal (SFM) have released “45-Day Language” code-change proposals.  Key proposals include:

    Once adopted by the BSC, this round of changes would take effect on a statewide basis on July 1, 2012.

    As with previous updates to the codes, staff will be reviewing all proposed changes and preparing comments for submittal to the proposing agency and the Building Standards Commission, however we need your review and comments (simply click on the code name above for the drafts).  Comments must be received by May 20th  so we can have time to review and compile and provide to the BSC.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Signed into law in 2008, AB 758 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) requires the Energy Commission to develop and implement a comprehensive program to seek greater energy savings in California’s existing residential and commercial building stock.  In response, the CEC will be kicking off regulatory proceedings on May 9th to establish this program. 

    The commercial real estate industry supports efforts to improve energy efficiency in the existing building stock and your Sacramento staff will be participating in this important proceeding. However, we highly encourage interested members of industry to participate and provide input.  Here is the CEC website which explains AB 758 and what California is trying to accomplish with these regulations.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The New York Times has been providing very good coverage of some very worrisome actions recently taken by the National Labor Relations Board.  The NLRB plans on suing two states for “card check” rules, and a major employer who moved operations from one state to another.  If you have not heard about these issues yet, here are a few “must read” articles:

    *Labor Board Plans Suits Against Two States Over Union Election Rules

    The N.L.R.B. told state officials it would file lawsuits against Arizona and South Dakota to block constitutional amendments that require secret ballots for unionization drives.

    *Labor Board Case Against Boeing Points to Fights to Come

    The federal labor board has sought to reinterpret and more vigorously enforce the rules governing employers and employees.

    *Labor Board Tells Boeing New Factory Breaks Law

    National Labor Relations Board files complaint seeking to force Boeing to bring airplane production line back to unionized factories in Washington State instead of moving work to nonunion plant in South Carolina; Boeing plans to contest labor board’s complaint.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Senate Bill 469 (Vargas; D-San Diego), a bill pushed by some unions to make it more difficult to build “big box” retail stores in California, will be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Monday.  Under the guise of “assuring better planning decisions by local governments,” the bill inappropriately used the state’s environmental laws to make it more difficult for certain retailers to complete projects.  Because of the terrible precedent it would set, the bill is opposed by a wide range of groups including the League of California Cities.

    On the surface, Senate Bill 469 mandates projects 90,000 square feet and larger to conduct so-called “economic and community” impact reports that include a long list of complicated statutory “assessments” that must be made and submitted to the local agency.  However, the practical impact of the bill will be to make it more expensive to develop such properties, and more difficult by providing lawsuit “hooks” to unions and other groups that oppose such development.

    By allowing land-use planning to be used in a broader union fight, SB 469 is designed to hurt an employer, which in turn hurts employees and the economy, further damages state tax revenues, and has the unintended consequence of killing green-collar jobs by stopping the development of the most energy and water efficient, sustainable, retail stores in the nation and limiting access to fresh groceries in underserved communities. 

    Because the provision of the bill are selectively applied, SB 469 will also make people who are already concerned about the impact California’s environmental laws are having on the economy cynical about other legitimate land-use policies.

    We will let you know what happens at the hearing.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    On the other hand, we had to oppose another bill – AB 19 (Fong; D-Mountain View) – mandating water submeters be installed in all residential dwelling units.  We communicated to the Legislature that although we do not oppose the installation of water meters and submeters in individual tenant units, this bill will set bad precedent by not allowing cost recovery for equipment purchases or costs association with reading meters;  the bill also was written in a way to purposeful avoidance of the state’s Building Standards Commission process.

    We believe this is an important step towards conservation for California. However, we consistently argue that there are important factors that must be considered and included in any statewide building code to ensure that costs are not overly burdensome for owners and tenants alike and that appropriate technical review by state agencies tasked with writing building code happen.

    The bill was held in committee, but may come up for a vote again prior to the Policy Deadline.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    As California builders, managers, and tenants are looking for cost effective ways to become more efficient, the use of electrical and water submeters have become more common.  The commercial real estate industry supports policies that will help users better understand resource usage. 

    However, in California recently, a steady and consistent supply of water submeters has been hard to come by because of redundant and burdensome testing and inspection requirements required only in this state. Due to that fact, there are currently no hot water submeters available for sale and installation in the state of California. The only manufacturer of a California-approved hot water meter has stopped all sales of submeters to California for fear of monetary penalties. In order to re-establish the supply, we are supporting SB 744 (Wyland; R – Escondido), a bill that will ensure the steady and consistent delivery of water submeters to the state. The bill would permit manufacturers of submeters to utilize an alternative testing facility to test the accuracy and reliability of the submeter as long as those facilities are recognized by California as meeting the minimum standards of accuracy.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    A bill carried on behalf of SEIU by Assemblymember Jose Solario (D-Santa Ana) that forces employers to hire certain employees when the ownership or management of a building changes hands, will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, May 4.

    The bill was previously approved by the Assembly Labor Committee on a party-line vote 5 to 1 vote (all Democrats in favor, one Republican in opposition).

    AB 350 (Solorio) expands the “Displaced Janitor Opportunity Act” from the current 60 to 90 days, and expands the covered job types to security guards, landscapers, cafeteria workers, window washers, and other “building service employees.”  The bill forces employers to hire certain individuals and purposefully seeks to undermine the at-will employment presumption in California to enable/ensure union representation, despite any change in employers.

    This bill is a basic attack on your right to hire employees and contractors, and will add to the negative business climate in this state.

    Apr 29


    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The battle for elimination of California Redevelopment has been a bit quiet lately.  The Governor’s proposal for complete elimination of this funding was met with stiff resistance by a broad coalition of local agencies, labor, business, affordable housing advocates, and even some environmentalists.  Unable to get the votes for elimination in either Chamber, stakeholders have been working to design a change in law that would “mend” but not “end” the program.

    To that end, SB 286 by Senator Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles) has been amended to include a comprehensive package of redevelopment reform measures proposed by the CA Redevelopment Association members. 

    The reform measures include adding specificity to the types of information needed for making findings of blight; limit the percentage of total land area of a jurisdiction which may be included in project areas; exclude the schools share of property taxes in new project areas formed after January 1, 2012; prohibit uses of tax increment for specific purposes such as golf courses and professional sports facilities without voter approval; add new requirements to five-year implementation plans and require agencies to focus activities on state priorities such as job creation, cleaning up contaminated property, basic infrastructure needs, and affordable housing; provide for more public oversight; require development of performance indicators to measure agency success; require performance audits of agencies by the State Auditor and provide funds for those reviews; and specifically prohibit the use of tax increment for non-redevelopment, non-agency operating costs.

    We strongly support the Redevelopment program in California and will actively work with CRA and Senator Wright to push for reform – and continuation – of Redevelopment in California.  If you want to express your support for this measure click here to contact legislators directly by using the CAPWIZ tool on the CRA website.