Green Building in Palo Alto


The Goal of Palo Alto green building regulation is to design, build, and operate a new generation of efficient, environmentally responsible, and healthy buildings. The ordinance is based on the California Green Building Code developed by the California Building Standards Commission. The City believes that the practice of green building can have a significant impact on reducing energy, water, and natural resource consumption, and improve Palo Alto citizens' well-being through improved indoor air quality and comfort. City Staff works in collaboration with the Green Building Advisory Group, a multi-disciplinary stakeholder group, to focus on continuous improvement of the green building requirements. Download the Green Building Vision Statement here.


California Green Building Code

California requires applicable projects to meet the California Green Building Code Mandatory Provisions ("CALGreen Mandatory") found in Title 24, Part 11. "CALGreen Mandatory" includes green building thresholds in the areas of site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, green materials, and indoor air quality. The California Energy Code, Title 24, Part 6, is also referenced within the California Green Building Code. The state has developed higher green building thresholds for those cities who are leaders in environmental sustainability and wish to elect higher standards. These thresholds are entitled " CALGreen Tier 1" and "CALGreen Tier 2". These tiers require increased levels of green building design, particularly in the areas of water and energy, and are in addition to the "CALGreen Mandatory" requirements. Click here to learn more about the CALGreen Tiers.


The City has adopted green building regulation that is more stringent than the State's requirements. For non-residential projects, the City has adopted CALGreen Tier 1 for tenant improvements and renovations and CALGreen Tier 2 for new construction. For residential projects, the City has adopted CALGreen Tier 1 for additions and renovations over 1,000 SF and CALGreen for Tier 2 for new construction. Click here to learn more about the green building requirements and compliance process. Green Building related ordinances:

• Green Building Ordinance 5393 - Effective 01/01/2017

Energy Reach Code Ordinance 5383 - Effective 01/01/2017

• Green Building Ordinance 5324 - Effective 06/22/2015 through 12/31/2016

• Energy Reach Code Ordinance 5345 - Effective 09/10/2015  through 12/31/2016

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Ordinance 5263 - Effective September 2014 through 06/19/2015

Green Building Ordinance 5220 - Effective December 2013 through 06/19/2015

Recycled Water Infrastructure Ordinance - Effective June 2008


The Palo Alto Green Building Ordinance requires applicants to incorporate sustainable design, construction, and operational requirements into most single-family residential, multi-family residential, and non-residential projects. The outcome of the ordinance results in reduced energy and water operational costs and an in increased indoor air quality for building owners and occupant.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2017