Green Building Requirements

Building Sustainably Green buildings provide healthy, comfortable building interiors that maximize savings through the efficient use of energy and water and limit construction impacts on the natural environment. The City of Berkeley requires that new buildings, alterations, and additions meet the requirements of the California State Green Building Code (CAL Green). In addition, Berkeley has supplemental green building policies that ensure that we continue to divert waste from landfills, reduce energy and water usage in our buildings, and help our community meet our environmental and Climate Action Plan goals.

Green building requirements for projects requiring a Zoning Use Permit (UP) or Administrative Use Permit (AUP) are listed below and provided in Green Building Requirements.

Green Buildings A green building takes a holistic approach to design, siting, construction, and operation to enhance the well being of its occupants and minimize the negative impacts on the community and natural environment.

Energy An energy-efficient building reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers utility bills, and improves comfort.

  • Energy Conservation Analysis: Required for large (10,000 sq.ft. or more) commercial projects and recommended for multifamily and mixed-use projects. A free analysis is available through PG&E's Savings By Design program. For multifamily projects, receive energy design assistance and cash incentives, see Heschong Mahone Group.
  • Energy Conservation Measures RECO/CECO: RECO/CECO requires existing buildings to make updates to save energy and water when properties are remodeled or sold. Residential projects must comply with RECO and commercial projects must comply with CECO.

Water: Controlling stormwater runoff protects the San Francisco Bay and our local creeks and watersheds. Construction activities are the largest source of stormwater pollution in the Bay. Water conservation helps save water while saving money and energy.

  • Reduction of Stormwater Pollution:  All construction projects must manage stormwater pollution. The Stormwater Requirements Overview summarizes the onsite stormwater treatment and required checklists for projects based on the quantity of impervious surface that they create or replace.
  • Protecting Health of Creeks: Requirements vary depending on project scope and distance from the creek. The City has developed a  Creeks Map that depicts open and culverted creeks available at the  Creeks Ordinance website.
  • Fixing Leaks in Sewer Laterals: Required for remodeling projects and when properties are sold, see Sewer lateral replacement.
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Section 31 Water Efficiency Regulations: All applicants for new and expanded service are required to comply, see EBMUD Water Efficiency Checklist.*
  • Bay Friendly Basics Landscape Requirements: Required for all new and renovated irrigated landscape over 2,500 square feet. The Bay-Friendly Basics represents the 9 required practices from the Bay-Friendly Landscape Scorecard, see Bay Friendly Checklist.*  

*California Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) requirements are met through compliance with Bay Friendly and EBMUD Water regulations, no additional action is needed.

Waste: Conservation and reuse of building materials and recycling construction and demolition debris saves valuable resources and landfill space.

Resources: 

Zoning submittal requirements, see Green Building Requirements

Searchable database by address (Parcel Popper), see Building Permit History and Parcel Conditions

Searchable database of City codes, see Municipal Code and Zoning Ordinance

Frequently requested forms and documents, see Permit application forms, submittal guidelines & forms

Guides on a range of topics to help you green your building project, see Green Building Permit Guides

Local Agencies:

City of Berkeley Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Green Building in Alameda County

Build It Green

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

PG&E

East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD)