Climate Action Plan - Measure W-1.1

Increase Water Efficiency


The County will exceed California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), the first green building code in the nation, by requiring installation of water-efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures in all new constructed homes starting in 2020. 
  • 2020 Target: Amend Title 9 of the San Diego County Code of Regulatory Ordinances within the County Construction Code
  • 2030 Target: Require installation of water efficient appliances and fixtures by 2030

Where are we going?

CALGreen, which is part of the California Building Code, sets required and voluntary measures for green building design and construction. This measure would accelerate the adoption of CALGreen Tier 1 Voluntary Standards for kitchen faucet and appliance standards as a new requirement for new residential construction. New efficiency standards will pertain to water-efficient kitchen faucets and ENERGY STAR-rated dishwashers and clothes washers. The California Building Code is updated every three years. In line with this update, the Department of Planning and Development Services (PDS) is updating the County Construction Code. Specifically, PDS is in the draft phase of preparing an ordinance requiring the installation of water efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures. The ordinance will be presented to the Board of Supervisors in early 2020.

How is this measured?

CALGreen regulates construction of new residential and non-residential buildings including issuing requirements in the planning and design; energy efficiency; water efficiency and conservation; material conservation and resource efficiency; and environmental quality of new buildings. The purpose of CALGreen is to improve public health and safety, and general welfare through sustainable building construction and design. To achieve CALGreen Tier 1 Voluntary, buildings must comply with specific green building standards for green flooring, thermal insulation, recycled content, solar reflectance, and water-efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures, among others.
Reducing the amount of water used in home appliances and plumbing avoids greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel electricity power used to treat, store, transport, and deliver water. The County will track the number of new residential units built after the Water Efficiency Requirement goes into effect. Then water use from CALGreen Tier 1 equipment in new homes will be estimated. Greenhouse gas emissions will be calculated from the amount of water used in gallons from new residential development.

Why is this important?

Per the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses 88 gallons of water a day at home. Leaving your faucet running for five minutes while washing dishes can waste 10 gallons of water and uses enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 18 hours! Newer, efficient kitchen faucets and appliances (i.e., dishwashers, and clothes washers) consume less water than older, less efficient models. Less water used results in more efficient use of a precious resource, energy savings, and can lower your water and energy bills.

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