Green Building Ordinance

Effective January 2, 2014, the City of San Rafael has moved away from our home grown Building, Energy Retrofit and Solar Transformation (BERST) green building ordinance written in 2009 in favor of the California Green Building Standards Code, commonly known as CalGreen. The reason we are doing this now is that the state has gradually increased the stringency of the green building measures since the original publication in 2010, such that the current 2013 CalGreen code has now caught up to where we have been locally since 2009. This change-over to the standardized state code will allow the building and design community to be consistent in their design and construction techniques throughout the county and state, and still keep San Rafael on the leading edge of sustainability, reduction of greenhouse gasses and resource conservation.

The new codes apply to certain types of applications for building Permits which we received on or after January 2, 2014. In addition to the base requirements, local jurisdictions are permitted to amend the published codes based on local climatic, geological, or topographical conditions.

CalGreen Scoping Requirements

General requirements: All newly constructed residential and non-residential buildings shall be designed to include the green building measures specified as mandatory in the CalGreen State code and detailed in the application checklists found in Section A4.602 (for Residential) and Section A5.602 (for non-residential).  Voluntary green building measures are also included in these application checklists and may be included in the design and construction of structures covered by this code; but are not required by statute; except that here in San Rafael, Tier 1 requirements are mandatory for all newly constructed Residential or Commercial Buildings.

Residential Additions and Alterations:  The mandatory provisions for residential dwellings spelled out in CalGreen shall be applied to additions or alterations of existing residential buildings only where the addition or alteration increases the building’s conditioned area, volume, or size.  Additionally, the requirements shall apply only to and/or within the specific area of the addition or alteration.

Note: On and after January 1, 2014, residential buildings undergoing permitted alterations, additions or improvements shall replace any and all non-compliant plumbing fixtures with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.  Plumbing fixture replacements are required prior to issuance of a certificate of final completion, certificate of occupancy or final permit approval by the local building department. Check out our Water Conservation guidelines for the definition of non-compliant plumbing fixtures, types of residential buildings affected, other important background information and self-certification forms.

Nonresidential additions and alterations: The mandatory provisions for non-residential additions or alterations apply only to building additions of 1,000 square feet or greater, and/or building alterations with a permit valuation of $200,000 or above.  Also, the code sections relevant to additions and alterations shall only apply to the portions of the building added or altered within the scope of the permitted work.

San Rafael Municode Title 12.23 – Green Building

Additional Water-Conserving Resources:

Self-Cert for Water-Conserving Fixtures Multi-Family & Commercial
Self-Cert for Water-Conserving Fixtures Single-Family Residential
Full text of California Civil Code Sections 1101.1 thru 1101.8

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