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  • Writer's pictureRERA

Green Building

RERA’s Green Building Committee was established to educate, assist, inform, and inspire our members with regard to sustainability. As we learn together, we move forward. Each step takes us closer to a brighter renewable future.

The Green Committee is dedicated to act as a resource for RERA’s members, offering information on green building practices, green education, government programs, green events, sustainable products, green certification and training; and to develop opportunities for involvement through RERA to further promote sustainable building practices and generate momentum for the green building industry and the global green movement.

Below you will find helpful resources and links!

USGBC -U.S. Green Building Council founded in 1993, has more than 15,000 members. This non-profit organization of building professionals promotes sustainability, how buildings are designed, built and operated. The USGBC encourages environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to work and live. It has developed programs and services, working closely with industry and research organizations, and federal, state and local government. The USGBC developed the LEED rating system and Greenbuild (a green conference that promotes the green building industry), and supports environmentally responsible materials, and sustainable architecture and public policy.

SCEIP – Sonoma County’s Energy Independence Program – Sonoma County’s Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) is a new opportunity for property owners to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary assessment. These assessments will be attached to the property, not the owner and will be paid back through the property tax system over time, making the program not only energy efficient but also affordable.

Sonoma County is the first in the state to set up an Energy Independence Program. This program is to help property owners reduce CO2 and be able to afford the upgrades. This program could bring 1000’s of jobs to Sonoma County and reduce Sonoma County’s Carbon Footprint. Sonoma County’s goal is to reduce its carbon footprint 25% below what it was in 1990 by the year 2015. The county’s motto is “Reduce Before You Produce”.

BuildingGreen – The online GreenSpec® Directory lists product descriptions for over 2,000 environmentally preferable products. They provide independent research to ensure that product descriptions contain unbiased, high-quality information. Unlike other directories, they do not charge for listings or sell ads, but they do charge for a yearly subscription. A great source for the trades and for consumers who plan to build or remodel.


25% discount off regular prices for all RERA Members on the products listed below. The discount may be applied to any order by using a special promo code. RERA members can go to or call 800-861-0954.

Subscriptions/Memberships: Environmental Building News™ — 1-year print subscription $79 ($99) BuildingGreen Suite™ — 1-year individual online membership $149 ($199)

Books/Directories: GreenSpec® Directory $66.75 ($89) Green Building Products $28.46 ($37.95) Your Green Home $13.46 ($17.95)

Building Science – Building Science provides objective, high-quality information about buildings. This resource combines building physics, systems design concepts, and an awareness of sustainability to promote the design and construction of buildings that are more durable, healthier, more sustainable and more economical than most buildings built today.

Build-it-Green – Build-it-Green is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote healthy, energy-and resource-efficient building practices in California. It works with mainstream stakeholders in the housing industry to accelerate adoption of green building practices. Build-it-Green offers trusted green-building training, tools, and technical expertise and partnership opportunities for public agencies, builders, developers, architects, contractors, affordable housing advocates, real estate suppliers and homeowners.

Cal Recycle – Cal Recycle was created on January 1, 2010, officially known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, is a new department within the California Natural Resources Agency and administers programs formerly managed by the State’s Integrated Waste Management Board and Division of Recycling. This web site is designed for California consumers, businesses, recycling and waste-hauling industries, nonprofit organizations, educational facilities, and others. It has useful information on green building, recycling, waste reduction, enforcement, grants and loans, and much more.

The California Energy Commission – The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, the Commission responsibilities include: Forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data. Licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger. Promoting energy efficiency by setting the state’s appliance and building efficiency standards and working with local government to enforce those standards. Supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs. Supporting renewable energy by providing market support to existing, new, and emerging renewable technologies; providing incentives for small wind and fuel cell electricity systems; and providing incentives for solar electricity systems in new home construction. Implementing the state’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. Planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies. California is the world’s fifth largest consumer of energy and ranks second in gasoline consumption only behind the whole United States. Today, California is a world leader in electricity created by renewable energy resources and has been at the forefront in energy efficiency. The renewable energy industry can be credited with providing 30,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in tax revenues for the state. Directing how such a nation-state uses its energy has been the purpose of the California Energy Commission for more than a quarter of a century.

CASBA – California Straw Building Association – The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) is a non-profit organization whose members are designers, contractors, owner builders, and people interested in straw building. You can join as a member, registered professional, by submitting your straw bale building to the registry and getting involved in CASBA events.

David Suziki Foundation – The David Suziki Foundation works with government, business and individuals to conserve our environment by providing science-based education, advocacy and policy work, and acting as a catalyst for the social change that today’s situation demands. Their mission is to protect the diversity of nature and our quality of life, now and for the future. David Suzuki, Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning Canadian scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is renowned for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way. Dr. Suzuki is recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. He is the recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environment Program Medal, UNEPs Global 500 and in 2009 won the Right Livelihood Award that is considered the alternate Nobel.

Earth 911 – This recycle site is a great resource. Simple to use, just plug in your zip or address, and find local recycling centers for just about anything, paint, paper, metal, hazardous, plastic, glass, electronics, automotive, garden, batteries, and construction.

Energy Savers – On this U.S. Government Web site you can find information to help you save energy in your home, business, vehicle, or industrial plant. The links on Energy Savers take you directly to resources available across Federal agencies for homeowners, contractors and builders, building managers, realtors, state agencies, drivers and fleet managers, and industry managers.

Energy Star – Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products. First created as a United States government program in 1992. Since then Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and Europe have also adopted the program. The Energy Star logo appears on computers and many appliances that can save up to 30 percent in energy consumption.

The Ecological Footprint Quiz – The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates the area of land and ocean required to support your consumption of food, goods, services, housing, and energy and assimilate your wastes. Your footprint is broken down into four consumption categories: carbon (home energy use and transportation), food, housing, and goods and services.

Green2Green – Green2Green features comprehensive information regarding green building products, materials and practices. The site offers side-by-side comparisons of products using a variety of environmental, technical and economic criteria.

Green Building Advisor – An online resource dedicated to providing the most useful, accurate, and complete information about designing, building, and remodeling energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthy homes. A product of BuildingGreen, they provide information on sustainable building for more than 23 years. Green Building Advisor’s advisory teams are former builders, remodelers, and architects. This is a single resource for design and construction professionals and knowledgeable homeowners, encompassing the information and insight needed to design, build, and remodel green. This includes proven construction details, in-depth how-to advice, a green product database, green business strategies, design tools, and alternate paths to code compliance together in one place. pulls information from the BuildingGreen database, but it is not as comprehensive.

Green Building Resources – The Green Building Resource Guide is a database of over 600 green building materials and products selected specifically for their usefulness to the design and building professions, rather than merely their green material content.

Green Stimulus Guide – This “eco-friendly” downloadable e-guide will provide you with valuable tips and information on: Insider secrets on winning Green Stimulus opportunities State-by-State green opportunities by sector Summary of green initiatives by Federal agency Valuable tips, tools and resources available to you How to apply for grants, loans and other funding opportunities Specific green energy initiatives: energy credits, hybrid cars, smart grids, weatherization, energy efficiency retrofits, green buildings Green transportation initiatives Green jobs, training and education Energy efficiency tax credits, deductions and incentives Green research and development funding and opportunities

Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore – Takes donated building materials helps those in need twice. The Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County ReStore needs your donations of doors, windows, cabinets and working appliances (7 years or less). Nearly any building or remodeling material in good shape can be recycled through ReStore, saving you dumping costs and providing a tax deduction as well. More importantly, your donations will go back into the community to help people who are upgrading their homes.

IBE – IBE is a non-profit organization leading North Americans to an understanding of the vital and complex relationship between the natural and built environments in order to bringing these two into greater harmony. IBE offers home study (correspondence) courses, Online Study, and Seminars to both professionals and lay people. The education program incorporates practical application of the building biology principles as an integral part of its activities. To address the needs of those wanting to evaluate homes and offices for levels of electromagnetic radiation, indoor air quality, etc. IBE has a program of courses and seminars to train Environmental Assessors and Consultants. Over 100 graduates in North America, Canada and Australia include architects, electricians, builders, medical practitioners, home inspectors, engineers and many other environmentally concerned people.

PG&E – A very informative site providing information for professionals and homeowners. On this site you will find information on on-site energy auditing, rebates and incentives, solar energy, energy saving tips, buyers guide, workshops and training. You will also find information on the Pacific Energy Center which offers educational programs, design tools, advice, and support to create energy efficient buildings and comfortable indoor environments. Most of our efforts are focused around commercial buildings; however, other departments offer advice and information for residential buildings.

Their services include assistance in: Day-lighting and shading analysis of physical building models to optimize envelope design Advice on site orientation, glazing, shading, day-lighting, and electric lighting systems Electric lighting system demonstrations and discussion of the pros and cons of different approaches to electric lighting in particular buildings and building types Identifying applicable incentive programs for energy-related measures, including the Savings By Design program Performance measurement tools for existing building systems evaluation and efficiency enhancements supported by enhancements supported by protocols for tool use. On-going educational programs. Energy information resource library. Useful to help find information on energy topics through world-wide connection For a schedule of free energy classes from PG&E, go to Energy Efficiency Classes. Click on the blue button at the bottom the the page that says: “Show Classes”. Then click on each class for more detail.

Sonoma County Waste Management – The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency provides a hotline to answer questions about waste reduction and recycling. Messages or questions can be left at any time and your call will be returned. If you have questions call the Eco-Desk Hotline 707-565-DESK(3375). This site also offers a database search to answer your recycling and toxic disposal questions from A-Z: appliance, batteries, concrete, computers, electronics, metal, paint, Styrofoam peanuts, toner cartridges, wood and much more! To make it more convenient for residents and businesses to dispose of their waste properly, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency conducts free electronics collection events. See the site for details This site includes new home construction green building guidelines and home remodeling green building guidelines.

Sonoma State University Environmental Technology Center – The Environmental Technology Center provides educational resources and technical assistance to design/construction professionals, students, local government, businesses and community members. Sonoma State’s ETC offers a Green Building Certificate Program, and Sustainable Landscape Program.

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