Water Efficiency Code Updates for Local Governments
In April 2015, Governor Jerry Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent from 2013 levels. For local governments, this mandate has increased the viability of creating ordinances or reach codes that can offset potable water use.
Below, Build It Green (BIG) outlines a few of these code opportunities, such as adopting or modifying various voluntary measures from the 2016 CALGreen code.
BIG is supporting the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) Codes and Standards Program. We are available to support local governments in PG&E territory, and we want to hear more about your needs and interests.
Code Update Opportunity: Indoor Water Use
Non-Residential and Multifamily or Single Family New Construction: Require compliance with voluntary measures of CALGreen. There are two options:
- Dual plumb to support alternative water supply: Dual plumb building for recycled water/ gray water and potable water meeting or exceeding CALGreen voluntary section A4.305 for residential or Section A5.303.5 for non-residential.
- Provide alternative water supply: Plumb indoor water use for non-potable water supply (rainwater, graywater or recycled water) for water closets, urinal, and other allowed uses. CALGreen Section A5.303.2.3.4 for non-residential and Section A4.303.2 for residential reference indoor water use to offset or eliminate potable water use for these applications. In the case of rainwater as the supply, it is advisable that the ordinance include a minimum volume of storage in order to ensure a meaningful contribution.
Code Update Opportunity: Outdoor Water Use
Non-Residential and Multifamily or Single Family New Construction: Provide alternative water supply: Plumb outdoor water use for non-potable water supply (rainwater, graywater or recycled water) for irrigation. For non-residential CALGreen Section A5.304.4.3 for non-residential and Section A4.304.4 or A4.304.5 for residential reference outdoor water use to offset or eliminate potable water use. The threshold can be defined as a reduction in potable water use for any building type.
For multifamily or non-residential, it may be appropriate to define a minimum supply volume requirement, especially in the case of rainwater as supply.
A cost-effectiveness study is not required for indoor or outdoor water use measures. However, a justification is required to be filed with the Building Standards Commission. Additional evaluations can be provided to support feasibility of implementation.
Code Update Opportunity: Commercial Kitchens
New Construction and Retrofit: Adopt voluntary measures of 2016 CALGreen, which address cubed ice makers, food steamers, food waste disposers, dishwashers and commercial pre-rinse spray valves. Commercial kitchen water use is primarily associated with dishwashing.
A cost-effectiveness study is not required. However, a justification must be filed with the Building Standards Commission. Additional evaluations can be provided to support feasibility of implementation.