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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)
Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)

Green Building Requirements

NEW! Local Amendments to the 2019 California Energy & Green Codes  
(Adopted December 3, 2019; effective January 1, 2020)
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 (CALGreen). Documentation of compliance with CALGreen must be provided with plans submitted for building permits and can be provided with these customized City of Berkeley CALGreen checklists:

Green building requirements for projects requiring a Zoning Use Permit (UP) or Administrative Use Permit (AUP) are listed below, for more information see Green Building Requirements.

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 Design: 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, participate in the California Multi-Family New Homes Program to receive energy design assistance and cash incentives.
  • Building Emissions Saving Ordinance (BESO) BESO requires building owners to complete whole-building energy assessments and publicly report the building's energy efficiency information. BESO is required prior to sale of a house or whole-building, except for large buildings over 25,000 square feet and on a phased-in schedule for all buildings, except houses.

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 consolidated information on the locations of open and culverted creeks and their regulations 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 Section 31: Water Efficiency Requirements* and overview information at EBMUD Water Conservation Review Regulations.
  • Bay Friendly Basics Landscape Requirements: Required for permitted projects with new landscape of 500 square feet or greater and renovated landscape area of 2,500 square feet or greater. The Bay-Friendly Basics Landscape Checklist represents the 9 required practices from the Bay-Friendly Landscape Scorecard, see Bay Friendly Checklist.* Additional resources are available through the Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition

*California Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) requirements are met through compliance with Bay Friendly and EBMUD Water Efficiency regulations.

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


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 Planning and Development Forms, 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)


East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD)


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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD), 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7465
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903