Solar powered homes mandatory

In a bid to escape the bitter Brexit debates this week, I cast my reading net further afield and was pleasantly surprised by some brighter news from across the Pond.

The item that caught my eye? It’s official: any new homes built in California after 2020 will have to be at least partially solar powered.

The California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to approve new standards that require new homes to offset their electricity needs

Other requirements part of the new “green” building codes include thicker insulation, more efficient doors, and improved ventilation systems.

The new solar power requirement applies to any new buildings that are up to three stories high — including apartments. Homeowners will also have the option to generate or buy electricity for a local community- or utility-owned electricity grid.

To pacify those critics who say solar is expensive, the Building Standards Commission will allow homeowners to lease solar panels from the government or sign “power purchase agreements” that could essentially allow them to buy solar energy from other producers, according the Orange County Register.

Now California’s a big state and a prime location for house building, with a huge programme about to begin, unfortunately, due to the recent wildfires which swept the region leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

And many of the state’s residents are very clued up on the whole environmental debate, wanting to play their part in protecting the planet.

So this headline has to herald the start of an initiative I really hope gathers momentum – both in other US states and other countries.

If one local legislature can sanction such a bold move, surely others can follow suit.

Here in the UK, increasing numbers of companies are taking their first baby steps down the ‘green’ road and introducing various initiatives to confront the nightmare that is climate change.

But global warming is just that – global – and it takes action by authorities in all areas of the world to generate good practice from which others can learn and implement similar programmes to improve their communities’ green credentials.

So with all the hot air coming from Westminster and Brussels around the acrimonious divorce, let’s hope the politicians and policy-makers save a bit of puff to add fuel to the environment debate  and throw their weight behind some more bold legal moves like their Californian counterparts.

At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science – just solar power.

* In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 goals for a better world by 2030. https://www.globalgoals.org/ These goals have the power to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. Guided by the goals, it is now up to all of us, governments, businesses, civil society and the general public to work together to build a better future for everyone. Syntegra’s work is underpinned by many of the goals.

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

7.2: INCREASE GLOBAL PERCENTAGE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.