California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a bit of an enigma. He has promoted state policies that have alienated both progressives and moderates (as demonstrated by the resounding election defeat for his various initiatives), but has done more to push a green agenda than pretty much any previous governor. The latest step in his plan, the Green Building Initiative, mandates that all public buildings be 20% more efficient by 2015, and suggests regulatory incentives to get private buildings to meet that same goal (PDF).
All new State buildings and major renovations of 10,000 sq. ft. and over... will be designed, constructed and certified at LEED-NC Silver or higher [...] Building projects less than 10,000 sq. ft. shall use the same design standard, but certification is not required.
...All State-owned buildings will reduce the volume of energy purchased from the grid, with a goal to reduce their energy consumption by at least 20% by 2015 (as compared to a 2003 baseline) by undertaking all cost-effective operational and efficiency measures as well as onsite renewable energy technologies.
It's great to see good ideas become public policy. 20% is very achievable and cost-effective, and one shouldn't be surprised if many buildings end up beating both the standard and the timeline.
(Via Social Design Notes)