In addition to a well-publicized solar water heating bill, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last Friday signed six other measures that deal with climate-related energy issues. Most of the measures expand the reach of the California Energy Commission (CEC) into the more efficient use of water, a growing concern in the drought-plagued West.

Schwarzenegger stressed the new laws’ common theme of helping the state fulfill a growing commitment to energy efficiency, conservation and pollution reduction.

“California is a world leader in improving technologies and promoting conservation while protecting our environment,” Schwarzenegger said. “That is why I am pleased to sign this legislation that will protect our precious resources and continue to keep California at the forefront of energy and water efficiency.”

One measure (AB 662) expanded the authority of the CEC to establish water efficiency standards for appliances the way it currently does for the energy consumption of appliances. Another bill (AB 1560) will require the CEC to incorporate water efficiency standards and conservation into existing state building standards on energy efficiency, which are among the toughest in the nation.

All of the state’s electric utilities now will be required under another bill (AB 1103) to maintain energy consumption data for nonresidential buildings for which they provide power service, and building owners or operators to provide benchmarking data to prospective buyers, lessees, or lenders, beginning Jan.1, 2010.

On light bulbs, which at one point in the legislative session this year were slated for a future ban on the sale of incandescent bulbs, Schwarzenegger signed a measure (AB 1109) prohibiting the “manufacturing for sale or the sale of certain general purpose lights containing hazardous substances.” In addition, the CEC is required to establish energy efficiency standards for all general purpose lights.

The other two bills deal mostly with water efficiency measures — recycled water in condominiums (AB 1406) and more uniform standards for the use of recycled water in parks, playgrounds and golf courses (AB1481).

Schwarzenegger stressed that the new laws are an extension of an initiative he began almost three years ago on both energy and environmental matters, with an executive order on green building standards and the so-called Green Action Team, a cabinet-level team.

Part of these efforts are California-mandated goals to cut electricity demand by 10% by 2010 and 20% by 2015. Schwarzenegger said he has put a emphasis on having all state office buildings, some 2 million square feet of space, meet the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. More than 100 state buildings, representing 5 million square feet, are set to receive LEED certification.

Along with the million-solar-rooftops law (SB 1) signed last year in the solar energy sector, Schwarzenegger signed the solar thermal water heating incentive law (AB 1470), setting the goal of 200,000 solar hot water heating systems in the state by 2017 (see Power Market Today, Oct. 15).

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