CalGreen Building Code

The 2010 California Green Building Standards Code (referred to as CALGreen) went into effect on January 1, 2011.  The CALGreen Code is a comprehensive and uniform regulatory green building code for all new residential, commercial, hospital and school buildings, ensuring that every new building in California is built using environmentally advanced construction practices. California's property owners can simply build according to the state's CALGreen Code, at no cost for certification. Having a mandatory code will allow California's builders to build to a certifiable green standard without having to pay costly fees for third-party programs. The new mandatory measures set sensible minimum standards that all new residential and non-residential structures can achieve to minimize significantly the state's overall carbon output. However, it is important to underscore that each local jurisdiction still retains the administrative authority to exceed the new CALGreen standards. 


The 2010 Green Building Standards Code will include:

  • 20% mandatory reduction in indoor water use, with voluntary goal standards for 30%, 35%, and 40% reductions. Separate water meters for non-residential buildings' indoor and outdoor water use, with a requirement for moisture-sensing irrigation systems for larger landscape projects.
  • Requiring diversion of 50% of construction waste from landfills, increasing voluntarily to 65% and 75% for new homes and 80% for commercial projects.
  • Mandatory inspections of energy systems (i.e. heat furnace, air conditioner, mechanical equipment) for non-residential buildings over 10,000 square feet to ensure that all are working at their maximum capacity according to their design efficiencies.
  • Requiring low-pollutant emitting interior finish materials such as paints, carpet, vinyl flooring and particle board. 


Optional Measures: Tier 1 and Tier 2 

A key component of the new CALGreen code is a two-tiered system designed to allow local jurisdictions to adopt codes that go beyond the state mandatory provisions. The two tiers contain measures that are more stringent than the mandatory measures and include an increased reduction in energy usage by 15 or 30 percent. The tiers are designed to become mandatory when adopted by a local jurisdiction. They then fall under the local building department’s inspection process.