Green Building


Green Building in Palo Alto

The Goal of the Palo Alto Green Building initiatives is to design, build, and operate a new generation of efficient, environmentally responsible, and healthy buildings in the City of Palo Alto. The green building requirements reside within PAMC 16.14 and are based on the California Green Building Code. 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. These initiatives are overseen by the Green Building Advisory Group.


2019 Energy Reach Code 

The 2019 Energy Reach Code ordinance for new construction projects mandates all-electric design for residential new construction projects and non-residential new construction projects be all-electric using California Energy Code baseline efficiencies, or a mixed-fuel building with compliance margins of 12% above state code for office/retail buildings, and 5% above baseline efficiencies for all other non-residential buildings. 


Green Building Compliance Process

The City of Palo Alto has developed a streamlined compliance process to meet the requirements of the Palo Alto Green Building related ordinances. The requirements have been defined during the planning, plan check, construction and inspections, and occupancy, Our intent is to enforce the green building ordinance while clarifying the requirements to ensure prompt compliance review. The compliance process has been identified for all building types, sizes, and scope. Visit the Green Building Compliance Page to determine the requirements that are applicable to your project.


Construction & Demolition (C&D) Debris Diversion

The Development Services Department has deployed the use of Green Halo Systems, an online debris tracking website that has helped contractors to document their diversion of thousands of tons of construction debris from landfill, for recycling or reuse. Construction and demolition (C&D) debris diversion is required for all demolition permits (complete structure and interior non-structural) as well as all building permits with valuations of $25,000 or greater. The website enables contractors to track their project's diversion rate, to ensure compliance with the City's debris diversion requirements outlined in the Green Building section of the municipal code. A minimum diversion rate of 75%-80% is required for covered projects. Visit the Debris Diversion Program page for more information.


Green Building Rebates and Incentives

Building green can save you green! Identify financial incentives and for green building features and/or strategies that your project is pursuing. Rebates and incentives are based on the energy and water saving features of a building. The City of Palo Alto Utilities department administers all incentives and rebates. For more information on Rebates and Incentives, visit Utilities Residential Rebates Page or Utilities Business Rebates Page for non-residential projects.

On-Demand Trainings

Visit the Compliance Video Trainings Page to View Our On-Demand Trainings!

The Development Services department has created a series of on-demand video trainings to help residential and non-residential project applicants understand the requirements and submittals for permit applications. In addition, two videos have been created especially for energy modelers working on both residential and non-residential projects. Visit the Green Building Compliance page to view the trainings.

Past Trainings


Zero Net Energy Training for Design Professionals 


Intro to Zero Net Energy and Beyond: Tools and Strategies for Residential Buildings



Overview of Palo Alto's current Green Building and Energy Reach Code Requirements- January 2018 from 12:00-1:00pm

Overview of Updated Green Building and Energy Reach Code Requirements in Palo Alto- Wednesday November 16th, 2016 from 12:00-1:00pm

Green Building Counter Hours
Green Building Counter Hours are closed temporarily due to the Santa Clara County Shelter In Place Order. To live chat with us or to submit an inquiry, visit You can also email or call (650) 329-2179 to get your code questions answered. We are open for chat Monday - Friday from 9am-12pm PST (excluding holidays).

Green Building Inspections
Do you need a green building inspection? Please read the directions on the Green Building Compliance Page for residential or non-residential final inspections. To schedule a building inspection, please call 650-329-2496 and press 2.