Santa Cruz, CA Green Building Working Group

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Santa Cruz, CA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Established in 2002

Source File:


In 2002 the City Council approved the formation of a Green Building Working Group. Initially a group of seventeen interested citizens and staff came together with the following mission:

The mission of this committee is to explore the use of green building products with the intent to apply them to local and regional construction projects and to address sustainable design practices. The program is currently envisioned as a progressive program spread over not more than a 5 year plan, beginning with introductory applications and volunteer compliance followed by introduction of mandatory applications in conjunction with other state and local programs including, but not limited to:

  • Best Management Practices
  • Deconstruction and reuse of materials
  • Erosion control and grading ordinances
  • Energy and waste management
  • Application to residential, commercial, and industrial projects

After nearly three years of work and several different approaches, the Green Building Working Group finally settled on a program based on two already successfully established green building programs. Specifically, for non-residential buildings the guidelines of the LEED© 2.0 was used as the basis of a point driven system in obtaining compliance for permit issuance. For residential buildings, the Alameda Waste Management Authority's program was tapped to also generate a point driven program in obtaining compliance for permit issuance. Both programs were designed to be user friendly and easy to comply with. For people interested in going beyond the minimum standards two different levels of points were established for each system, one to generate accelerated processing and one for both accelerated processing and an awards program. Also, the program full implementation was reduced to two years.

The program was approved by the City Council in October of 2005 and became effective on January 3, 2006. For the first year participation in filling out the Green Building points check list is mandatory, however installation of green building measures is voluntary.

Commencing on January 2, 2007, installation of designated green components becomes mandatory in order to obtain a building permit and a building final. Listed below are the ordinance, new standards and associated check lists. Staff will update these from time to time so make sure to check either here or at the building counter for the latest versions.

Additional Information:
Green Building Report to Planning Commission
Appendix A - Green Building Standards
Appendix B - New Home Green Points Checklist
Appendix C - Non-Residential Checklist
Appendix D - Glossary
City Council Agenda Report - October 25, 2005

Ordinance - Green Building Regulations