There's no denying it. There's a ton of homes in Orange County, and there's a ton more being built everyday. While the rate of building doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon, it's interesting to note that at least a few of these developments, as well as several cities in OC, are making an effort to incorporate more "green" designs into the new building. Sunday's OC Register had an article entitled "The environment comes home" by Heather Ignatin, which describes some of the green efforts that several OC builders and new communities are doing from the ground up.
Cities like San Juan, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, and Costa Mesa are "actively pursuing voluntary guidelines for builders to follow" and recently Irvine, Mission Viejo, and Anaheim are also adopting similar programs. The article points out what some of the developments are doing, including offering water efficient plumbing and low-flow irrigation as standards, options for adding bamboo flooring, rooftop solar panels, using recycled lumber in construction, and tankless heaters. Also many of these cities are giving builders incentives for green builders, such as reduced building permit fees and expedited plan checks. Obviously there's a long way to go. The article states that "Depending on the scope of the green components, such homes can cost between 1 and 3 percent more,... but the increased life-cycle savings far outweigh the initial costs." I was encouraged to know that the city I live in, Irvine, has made a commitment to making all future communities green, and the article points out some of the steps this city has implemented already, including native plant landscaping to state of the art water conserving sprinkler systems. I'm really curious about several of the new developments that the article mentions and hope to check them out in person for a better report. Hopefully more cities as well as consumers will continue the demand for green building. Read the rest of the article here. Images by Jebb Harris for OC Register