In recent years, numerous local governments in California have implemented "green" building ordinances. These measures can increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease other harmful environmental impacts. This document identifies the various approaches to green building ordinances that jurisdictions have taken and the most common features of the measures.
The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) was one of the original stakeholders in the formation of the Green Resource Center, which later became Built It Green. The county actively promotes GreenPoint Rated to homeowners, builders and local jurisdictions.
In July 2007, the Mayor's Green Building Task Force released a report recommending what, if adopted, would be the most progressive green building standards for private sector development of any city in the United States. Effective December 2008, The San Francisco Green Building Ordinance will require LEED and GreenPoint Rated standards at increasing levels of stringency over time to new commercial and residential construction.
The City of Albany Green Building Standards of Compliance mandate minimum thresholds for civic, commercial and residential projects with levels of stringency set according to building size or number of dwelling units. New single family residential and remodels subject to design review must achieve at least 50 Green Points and be verified at plan check. New Multifamily developments must be the maximum GreenPoints practicable if less than 5 units and the minimum standard if more than 5 units.
Every builder applying for a Use or Administrative Use permit for new construction and major remodels or involves demolition must consult with the Berkeley Green Building Coordinator and submit a GreenPoint checklist with the application. All new non-residential buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. must conduct an Energy Conservation Analysis under PG&E's Savings by Design Program.
Cotati's Sustainable Building Program mandates that every new residential development must achieve at least 60 points from the GreenPoint Rated checklist.
Hayward requires that all multifamily developments with 20 units or more are required to submit a GreenPoint Rated checklist to the Planning Commission, and obtain at least 50 points. Additionally, all municipal buildings exceeding $3 million in cost must achieve a LEED Silver rating.
Los Altos mandates that all new single and multifamily homes must be GreenPoint Rated, new municipal buildings be LEED certified, and new commercial developments be 15% more efficient than Title 24.
Petaluma's Community Development Department has partnered with Build It Green to launch a voluntary green building program in which GreenPoint Rated homes will be eligible for a $500 rebate, and the first five projects to be GreenPoint Rated will receive plaques and citywide recognition.
Richmond requires that all city-funded commercial projects exceeding 5,000 sq. ft. must meet at LEED Silver rating and all city-funded residential projects exceeding 5,000 sq. ft. must achieve 70 points on the GreenPoint Rated checklist.
The City of Rohnert Park has developed a tiered system for green building requirements. New buildings are subject to different GreenPoint Rated thresholds according to type (single dwelling, multiple dwelling and commercial), size and density. Single dwelling units must achieve between 90 and 110 points and new multifamily dwellings must achieve at least 80 points. All new commercial buildings are required to meet LEED for Commercial Interiors or Core and Shell.
San Rafael has developed a rigorous policy in which all new single- and multi-family residences, as well as residential additions over 500 sq. ft. must achieve 60 points on the GreenPoint Rated checklist. In addition, all commerical and civic buildings over 5,000 sq. ft. must be LEED certified and all those over 30,000 sq. ft. must achieve a LEED Silver rating.
The City of Sebastopol has a green building policy wherein every new residential and commercial buildings and commercial remodels over 1,800 sq. ft. achieve at least 60 GreenPoints in total and at least 15 points in Indoor Air Quality, Energy Efficiency and Resource Efficiency from the GreenPoint Rated guidelines. A third-party GreenPoint Rater must verify compliance.
Marin County's GreenPoint Rated-based policy requires that new buildings subject to discretionary review must achieve a predetermined number of GreenPoints according to the size of the building. All single family dwellings larger than 3,500 sq. ft. are subject to the energy efficiency budget of a 3,500 sq. ft. building.
As of March 27, 2008, new construction or 50% remodels or above are required to meet a green building standard. Applicants that fall under these standards must submit either a GreenPoint Rated Checklist or a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes Checklist with the building permit application. To view the ordinance, click here.
In December 2008, Santa Clara County adopted a new green building ordinance mandating all new residences between 1,200 square feet and 3,000 square feet to become GreenPoint Rated with at least the minimum 50 point requirement, or LEED certification. All new residences over 3,000 square feet must be GreenPoint Rated, and achieve 1 point for every additional 100 square feet over 3,000, or LEED certification.