Green Building Compliance

Palo Alto is committed to green building and energy efficiency for new construction and renovation projects. This page contains the compliance requirements for residential and non-residential projects. For on-demand trainings on compliance visit the Compliance Video Training webpage. 

Do you have an upcoming construction project in Palo Alto or have questions about how the Green Building Ordinance or Energy Reach Code Ordinance impacts your project? 

Visit copa.greencarpetservice.com to live chat with us or to submit an inquiry.
You can also email copa@greencarpetservice.com to get your code questions answered.
We are open for chat Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. PST (excluding holidays).

New Highlights

  • The Final GB-1, GB-3, and GB-4 Sheets are now available. If your project submitted a "Preliminary" sheet, please download, complete, and resubmit the Final sheet. 
  • Curious about the 2019 Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) Green Building (GB) Ordinance? Take a look at our 2019 PAMC GB Ordinance Summary of Changes!

CPA Pre-Approved Green Building Special Inspector Lists (effective 1-1-20)

Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects must use an approved Green Building Special Inspector from the lists below.

 

Single Family and Multi-Family Residential Compliance

Single-family and multi-family projects shall follow the process presented below.  This page identifies the new requirements effective for projects submitting for permit on or after 6/22/15. Visit the Green Building In Palo Alto page to view the ordinances.

Planning Phase

Applies only to projects subject to Planning Review.

1. Verify Requirements: Verify the applicable requirement by using the Preliminary Residential Green Building Verification Form and Residential Energy Reach Code Verification Form. For new multi-family projects, use the EVSE Calculator for calculate the number and type of electric vehicle parking spaces required.

2. Include CALGreen Checklist: Include the applicable CALGreen Checklist into the plan set as identified in the form above.

Plan Check Phase

1. Verify Requirements: Verify the requirement applicable by using the Residential Green Building Verification Form and Residential Energy Reach Code Verification Form. For new multi-family projects requiring electric vehicle parking, use the EVSE Calculator for compliance assistance.

2. Select a Green Building Special Inspector (Projects subject to Tier 1 or Tier 2 only): All residential projects subject to CALGreen Tier 1 or Tier 2 MUST hire a Green Building Special Inspector from the Development Services list of pre-approved Residential Green Building Special Inspectors prior to submitting for plan check. The Green Building Special Inspector MUST review and sign the CALGreen checklist prior to submitting for plan check. The Green Building Special Inspector will review the project's contract documents in accordance with the Residential Green Building Standard Conditions. The project team must submit a Green Building Special Inspection Agreement with each project application.

3. Include Final CALGreen Checklist (GB-1) & Green Building Requirements in Contract Documents: Include the applicable CALGreen Checklist into the plan set using one of the following GB-1 Res Mandatory SheetGB-1 Res Mandatory Tier 1, or GB-1 Res Mandatory Tier 2. Update this sheet if the approach has changed from the Planning Phase. If the project is subject to Green Building Special Inspection, the sheet must be signed by the Green Building Special Inspector. Projects must reference the Residential Green Building Standard Conditions and include the applicable design elements and sheet notes on the contract documents.

4. Energy Reach Code Compliance: If the project is subject to the Energy Reach Code, ensure that the Energy Compliance report shows the minimum requirements in accordance with requirements identified on the Residential Energy Reach Code Verification Form. In special or unusual circumstances, projects may be unable to meet the Energy Reach Code. In this case, the project must follow the Energy Reach Code Infeasibility Guidelines(PDF, 178KB) and submit the Energy Reach Code Infeasibility Exemption Form(PDF, 180KB) with the building permit application.

5. Complete Survey: Complete the Green Building Survey. Projects that are required to complete the survey are listed on the Green Building Verification Form.

Inspection Phase

Important: Projects must reference the GB-1 sheet in the approved permit plans to find the green building checklist and the requirements applicable to the project. 

1. Follow Green Building Inspection Guidelines: Projects MUST follow the Green Building Residential Inspection Guidelines(PDF, 6MB) throughout construction. For CALGreen Mandatory projects, the CPA Building Inspector shall perform the Green Building Pre-Construction Meeting with the General Contractor. For CALGreen Tier 1 and CALGreen Tier 2 projects, the Green Building Special Inspector must lead this inspection and it must be witnessed by the CPA Building Inspector. Please refer to the Green Building Special Inspectors and Project Triggers(PDF, 199KB) as a guide to confirm applicable green building requirements.

Please note: Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects must provide monthly reports to their Green Building Special Inspector throughout construction. 

2. Schedule a Green Building Pre-Construction Meeting #151: Call the Development Center at 650-329-2496 to schedule the Green Building Pre-Construction Meeting #151. For CALGreen Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects, the Green Building Special Inspector assigned to the project MUST lead the pre-construction meeting. Review the Green Building Residential 151 Inspection Checklist(PDF, 209KB), Green Building Residential GB-1 Sheet Inspection Submittals Checklist(PDF, 623KB), and the CALGreen Documentation Certificate of Compliance(PDF, 158KB) for requirements during construction.

3. Schedule a Green Building Incremental Verification #152: Call the Development Center at 650-329-2496 to schedule the Green Building Incremental Verification #152 prior to All Trades Inspection. Review the Green Building Residential 152 Inspection Checklist(PDF, 210KB) and the Green Building Residential GB-1 Sheet Inspection Submittals Checklist(PDF, 623KB) for requirements during construction. Ensure all CALGreen Documentation Certificate of Compliance(PDF, 158KB) forms and supporting documentation are completed and ready for review. 

4. Schedule a Green Building Final Inspection #153: Call the Development Center at 650-329-2496 to schedule the Green Building Final Inspection #153 prior to Final Building Inspection. Please refer to the Green Building Residential 153 Inspection Checklist(PDF, 208KB) and the Green Building Residential GB-1 Sheet Inspection Submittals Inspection Checklist(PDF, 623KB) for requirements. Ensure all required CALGreen Documentation Certificate of Compliance(PDF, 158KB) forms and supporting documentation are completed and ready for review. Green Building Special Inspectors must have their Green Building Special Inspector Field Notes(PDF, 178KB) ready for review by the Building Inspector.

NOTE: For projects that submitted for permit before 6/22/2015, approximately one week prior to requesting a Final Inspection, the Green Point Rater shall submit a signed copy of the GB-1 Sheet to copa@greencarpetservice.com

Non-Residential Compliance

The Green Building Ordinance requires non-residential projects to meet either CALGreen Mandatory, CALGreen Tier 1, or CALGreen Tier 2. CALGreen is a robust code that enables Development Services to enforce green requirements similarly to how other building codes are regulated. If a project requires Planning approval, then green building requirements listed under "Planning Phase" apply. If a project is not subject to Planning approval, then the green building requirements listed under "Plan Check Phase" apply to the project. 

Planning Phase

Applies only to projects subject to Planning Review.

1. Verify Requirements: Verify the requirement applicable by using the Non-Residential Green Building Verification Form and Non-Residential Energy Reach Code and Commissioning Verification Form. Use the EVSE Calculator for new construction requiring electric vehicle parking.

2. Include CALGreen Checklist (GB-1): Include the following applicable GB-1 sheet into the plan set using the correct forms as described in the Non-Residential Green Building Verification Form and Non-Residential Energy Reach Code and Commissioning Verification Forms above. Use the EVSE Calculator for new construction requiring electric vehicle parking.

3. Select Commercial Green Building Special Inspector: All Non-Residential projects subject to CALGreen Tier 1 or Tier 2 MUST hire a Green Building Special Inspector from the Development Services list of pre-approved Non-Residential Green Building Special Inspectors prior to submitting for plan check. The Green Building Special Inspector MUST review and sign the CALGreen checklist (GB-1) prior to submitting for plan check.  The Green Building Special Inspector will review the project's contract documents in accordance with the Non-Residential Green Building Standard Conditions. The project team must submit a Green Building Special Inspection Agreement with each project application.

4. Include Commissioning Requirements:  For ALL new Non-Residential buildings, Building Commissioning is required in accordance with the California Energy Code Section 120.8. For projects less than 10,000 square feet, only the design review requirements shall be completed. The Owner or Owner's Representative shall complete and sign the Owner's Project Requirements in the sheet GB-3 below. The design team shall include a preliminary Basis of Design and include on the project plans using the following sheets. The final Basis of Design shall be completed and submitted at Plan Check.

Plan Check Phase

1. Verify Requirements: Verify the requirement applicable by using the Non-Residential Green Building Verification Form and Non-Residential Energy Reach Code and Commissioning Verification Form. If the project completed this step during Planning, confirm that the project approach has not changed. Use the EVSE Calculator for new construction requiring electric vehicle parking.

2. Include Final CALGreen Checklist (GB-1) & Green Building Requirements in Contract Documents: Include the following applicable GB-1 sheet into the plan set referencing the project scope in the Green Building Verification Form. Complete the required GB-1 sheet that reflects the design elements of the final design and construction elements. For projects that went through Planning, update the GB-1 sheet from Planning Phase if the approach has changed.

3. Energy Reach Code Compliance: If the project is subject to the Energy Reach Code, ensure that the Energy Compliance report shows the minimum requirements in accordance with requirements identified on the Non-Residential Energy Reach Code Verification Form listed above. In special or unusual circumstances, projects may be unable to meet the Energy Reach Code. In this case, the project must follow the Energy Reach Code Infeasibility Guidelines(PDF, 178KB) and submit the Energy Reach Code Infeasibility Exemption Form(PDF, 180KB) with the building permit application.

4. Include Commissioning Requirements: For ALL new non-residential buildings, Building Commissioning is required in accordance the California Energy Code Section 120.8. For projects less than 10,000 square feet, only the design review requirements shall be completed.

The Owner or Owner's Representative shall complete and sign the Owner's Project Requirements in the sheet GB-3 below. The design team shall include a Final Basis of Design and include on the project plans using the following sheets. The Commissioning Authority shall provide and sign the Commissioning Plan using the GB-4 sheet below. Multiple sheets may be used for larger projects.

3. Complete the Green Building Survey. Projects that are required to complete the survey are listed on the Green Building Verification Form.

Inspection Phase

Important: Projects must reference the GB-1 sheet in the approved permit plans to find the green building checklist and the requirements applicable to the project.

1. Follow Green Building Inspection Guidelines: Projects MUST follow the Green Building Nonresidential Inspection Guidelines(PDF, 8MB) throughout construction. For CALGreen Mandatory projects, the CPA Building Inspector shall perform the Green Building Pre-Construction Meeting with the General Contractor. For CALGreen Tier 1 and CALGreen Tier 2 projects, the Green Building Special Inspector must lead this inspection and it must be witnessed by the CPA Building Inspector. Please refer to the Green Building Special Inspectors and Project Triggers(PDF, 199KB) as a guide to confirm applicable green building requirements.

Please note: Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects must provide monthly reports to their Green Building Special Inspector throughout construction. 

2. Schedule a Green Building Pre-Construction Meeting #151: Schedule a Green Building Pre-Construction Meeting as outlined in the Non-Residential Green Building Inspection Guidelines(PDF, 8MB) by calling the Development Center at 650-329-2496. Review the Green Building Non-residential 151 Inspection Checklist(PDF, 185KB) and the Green Building Non-residential GB-1 Sheet Inspection Submittals Checklist(PDF, 2MB) for requirements during construction. Determine if a Green Building Incremental Verification will be required during Commercial Multi-Trades (MEP) Inspection and include in the project schedule. 

3. Schedule a Green Building Incremental Verification #152: Call the Development Center at 650-329-2496 to schedule the Green Building Incremental Verification #152 prior to Commercial Multi-Trades (MEP) Inspection. Review the Green Building Non-residential 152 Inspection Checklist(PDF, 203KB) and the Green Building Non-residential GB-1 Sheet Inspection Submittals Checklist(PDF, 2MB) for requirements during construction. Ensure all CALGreen Documentation Certificate of Compliance(PDF, 158KB) forms and supporting documentation are completed and ready for review. 

4. Schedule a Green Building Final Inspection #153: Call the Development Center at 650-329-2496 to schedule the Green Building Final Inspection #153 prior to Final Building Inspection. Please refer to the Green Building Non-residential 153 Inspection Checklist(PDF, 222KB) and the Green Building Non-residential GB-1 Sheet Inspection Submittals Inspection Checklist(PDF, 2MB) for requirements. 

Ensure all required CALGreen Documentation Certificate of Compliance(PDF, 158KB) forms and supporting documentation are completed and ready for review.  Green Building Special Inspectors must have their Green Building Special Inspector Field Notes(PDF, 178KB) ready for review by the Building Inspector.


Post Occupancy Phase

 1. Submit an Energy Star Benchmark. Complete the Energy Star Benchmark after the project has been occupied for 12 months. Note that fines may be applied for non-compliance. 

Energy Star Benchmarking for Commercial Buildings
Frequently Asked Questions - Non-Residential Green Building and Energy Reach Code

  

2013 & 2016 Code Cycle GB-1 Sheets

2013 GB-1'S (Projects Submitted Between 6/22/2015 and 12/31/2016)