Greener pastures ahead

CITY HALL — In terms of sustainable building standards, Glendale could go from relatively lax to ahead of the curve, according to a proposal endorsed by the City Council this week.

New state green building regulations are set to go into effect in January, and will require new developments to recycle construction waste, reduce polluting materials and increase energy and water efficiency.

On Tuesday, City Council members lauded the new regulations — the first statewide green building code in the nation — but said they wanted to consider adding additional regulations for building in Glendale.

The city currently has few sustainable building requirements.

"The lack of proactive green policies in Glendale is one of the reasons I ran for office," said Councilwoman Laura Friedman. "I'm glad that the state is taking the lead…I would like to see us do more."

The state requirements would apply to residential and non-residential development, including civic, commercial, retail, office and medical buildings.

The City Council in January held off on establishing a citywide policy, instead creating a community task force of local stakeholders to wrestle with the issue while city officials waited for the release of the state building codes.

Council members on Tuesday directed staff to compile a list of potential additional requirements to bring back for consideration in the coming months.

Several task force members encouraged the City Council to go beyond the state regulations.

"I'd like to see the city of Glendale be a leader and not a follower," said Alek Bartrosouf, founder of the nonprofit Coalition for a Green Glendale. "We have cities like Pasadena, Santa Monica and West Hollywood that set a perfect example for us. I hope we will follow in their footsteps."

Councilman Dave Weaver said that while he would support certain extra requirements — such as mandating all new buildings be solar energy-ready — he wanted to make sure the mandates did not become too much of a cost burden.

"I want to go slow because we don't know what costs we are potentially incurring for the residents and the businesses in this city," he said.

Other council members countered that the requirements would ultimately save money by cutting down on water and electricity costs.

"The bottom line is in dollars and sense, it makes sense to do this," said Councilman Frank Quintero. "And I am glad we are moving in this direction."

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