Even as California’s economy takes a beating, its green initiatives remain relentless. That might stem from the irony that California is the 12th-largest emitter of carbon in the world despite leading the U.S. in energy-efficiency standards. The California Public Utilities Commission has mandated that all new residential buildings be net–zero energy by 2020. In addition, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 requires California to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Most recently, the CALGreen legislation signed by the governor in January includes residential construction requirements that, among other things, establish a 20 percent mandatory reduction in indoor water use, with voluntary goal standards for 30 percent, 35 percent, and 40 percent reductions; diversion of 50 percent of construction waste from landfills, increasing voluntarily to 65 percent and 75 percent for new homes; and installation of low-pollutant–emitting interior finish materials.

BIM software developer Auto­desk is based in California, so its interest in how software helps builders transform themselves reflects the requirements arising in the state. Referring to CALGreen, Erin Rae Hoffer, Autodesk’s AEC industry program manager, says solutions such as Green Building Studio and Ecotect Analysis offer control over the process to meet the challenges of being green even if the economy is not cooperating. “If the [builder’s] team can collaborate around the data that’s maintained in the BIM software, they can be efficient enough to meet those challenges,” she says. “The future is going to be about efficiency, both for the homes and how we build them.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.