DALY CITY — The city could soon require new homes built here to feature environmentally conscious elements.

Under the proposed Green Building Ordinance, developers of new residential structures would need to show their project will have a certain level of eco-friendly measures before being granted a building permit.

The City Council is scheduled to review the ordinance Nov. 23 and could consider approving it next month. It could take effect in January.

"I think for Daly City it's important," Councilman David Canepa said Friday. "We will be building in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and homeowners will benefit with utility cost-savings."

The ordinance is modeled after a similar one approved last year by San Mateo County supervisors, said Peter Pirnejad, Daly City's assistant director of economic and community development.

Dwellings would need to meet, among other conditions, the minimum standards set by the nonprofit Build It Green or the U.S. Green Building Council, Pirnejad said.

The projects, for instance, would have to incorporate any number of measures that range from laying out water-efficient landscaping to installing solar panels.

Several other Peninsula communities have already passed such an ordinance, including Redwood City, San Mateo and Palo Alto.


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Kari Binley, executive director for Sustainable San Mateo County, praised those communities for taking action now, noting that a state law requires cities to lower greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

"Buildings represent 40 percent of all greenhouse emissions," Binley said. "So it behooves them to do this kind of thing."

But could a green ordinance increase costs to builders? "Like most things, it depends," Binley said. "The most important thing is that we begin to change our behavior to support our long-term viability and sustainability."

Homebuilders in Daly City would have to bring in someone to rate how green their project is, Pirnejad said, "but it's a negligible cost."

Dan Stephan, staff liaison for the San Francisco Association of Realtors, plans to study the ordinance and talk to homeowners about it, he said.

"It could be a minor thing or it could cost money," said Stephan, whose group is involved in selling about 650 homes a year in Daly City and recently led an effort that forced the council to back off a controversial property-inspection proposal.

"I can see it could be a good or bad thing," he said of the green ordinance. "But I can see the city is trying to do something good for the environment."

Reach Neil Gonzales at 650-348-4338.