North Bay city makes 'green living' a law

March 21, 2008 10:48:19 AM PDT
While San Francisco is proposing new rules on green buildings, the North Bay city of Rohnert Park already has such an ordinance.

What Rohnert Park has been doing since last July is requiring anyone constructing a home or business to build green. To comply with the law, you must meet certain thresholds depending on the size of the project.

Getting to an acceptable level might mean using techniques like solar panels, using recycled materials, and perhaps installing skylights to reduce reliance on light bulbs.

"We look at development over the decades and latter part of the 21st century. It will be efficient in terms of consumption of resources," Mayor Jake Mackenzie, Rohnert Park.

The city is putting its money where its mouth is with a new City Hall.

"City Hall will be finished next year. Construction on two commercial buildings under the Green Building Ordinance is already done. The first in what will be a transformation for this Sonoma County city."

Going way above and beyond the city law is the $1 billion dollar, twelve year project known as Sonoma Mountain Village. It's on the site of the former Agilent Technologies. This will be a neighborhood of 1,900 homes, and businesses. It's one of only five projects in the world endorsed as what's called a "One Planet Community" with extremely high sustainability principles. For example, the developer is not asking for new water rights.

"It means we have to store a lot of rainwater and use gray water in innovative ways. We're also providing the power from the sun and reusing all the asphalt and concrete that's here now," says Geoff Syphers, Codding Enterprises.

Some buildings have already been renovated and offices are in use. The mayor of Rohnert Park says he's very excited about that project and his city's green ordinance. He expects standards will become even more strict in the next few years.


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