This Week's Codes and Standards, October 15

Building smarter with materials that can dry out, California statewide rent control initiative, Global Green Tag Production Certification standard launch, Massachusetts' homeowner protest, and urban infill rising in the Bay Area

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | October 15, 2018
Dark-colored farm vegetables and flowers.
Photo: Unsplash/Ella Olsson +

Global Green Tag Production Certification Standard Will Launch in U.S. at End of Year


Global GreenTag International will launch its product certification standard and eco-labeling program in the U.S. later this year. Global GreenTag ( is recognized by the International WELL Building Standard and also claims compliance with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED v4 building program and tools. The Global GreenTag Product Certification scheme includes a Product Health Declaration tool that rates the healthiness of products with a HealthRATE Mark.
Global Green Tag also offers the EN 15804-compliant Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Program that will rate U.S.-made products with a CarbonRATE Mark. Global GreenTag will launch its U.S. site and product certification services at the GREENBUILD International Conference and Expo in Chicago, November 14-16.

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In California, Statewide Rent Control Could Be a Nightmare, Development Industry Leader Says


California’s Proposition 10, a local rent control initiative, would be “a nightmare” if approved on Nov. 6, according to Joseph J. Ori, an executive with Paramount Capital Corp., a commercial real estate advisory firm. The referendum would allow local governments to adopt any type of rent control system, repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (CHRHA) of 1995.
The CHRHA is a 1995 state statute that limits the use of rent control. Under this law, cities cannot enact rent control on housing first occupied or built after Feb. 1, 1995, or on housing units where the title is separate from connected units, such as condominiums and townhouses. Proposition 10 will likely pass, Ori writes, and then it will be up to individual cities and counties to decide if they want some, all, or no rent control. This will cause “a hornet’s nest for apartment investors, owners, managers, and developers.”

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Massachusetts Coastal Homeowners Protest Ban on Sea Wall Construction


In some coastal Massachusetts towns, there is a fierce debate raging over whether state restrictions on private sea walls and other fortifications should be relaxed to account for increase storm damage due to climate change. One homeowner quoted in a recent Boston Globe article spent tens of thousands of dollars on sand replenishment to prevent his 1,300-square-foot home from being destroyed by the ocean, only to suffer thousands of dollars in damage after his basement flooded in a storm. Advocates for the ban says that coastal fortifications may protect homes directly behind them but compromise the integrity of the beach, and actually hasten erosion.

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U.S. Needs to Build Smarter With Resilient Design and Materials


The threat of floods and power outages from natural disasters should be a wakeup call for homes in the U.S. to be built more resiliently. One sorely needed strategy, according to the founder of BuildingGreen, is to build with materials that can get wet and dry out without creating mold or losing structural performance.
Mineral wool insulation rather than cellulose and polished concrete floors are two choices that fit that bill. Architects should also design houses using knowledge about how moisture moves through buildings during storm events or normally as water vapor. Also, building houses with passive survivability that can maintain habitable temperatures during power outages or shortages of heating fuel should be a priority.

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Urban Infill Projects Gain Favor in Effort to Boost Density in Bay Area


Urban infill projects have been gaining favor in the San Francisco area. There are several notable trends impacting these developments.
Developers are willing to build higher—stacked flats served by elevators have been increasing in popularity, for example. More homes are being built with multi-generational living in mind. Mixed use, transit-oriented projects, and rooftop decks to gain outdoor living space in tight lots are also more common.

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