Community and Economic Development > Green Building Policies

Green Building Policies & Requirements

In 1998 the City of Oakland adopted the Sustainable Community Development Initiative. One of those goals was to "Develop a Sustainable City", by "maximizing socially and environmentally sustainable growth, including conserving natural resources. Since then the City Council has adopted many policies that would support this goal for both City and private development projects. In this section you can find information related to the newly adopted green building ordinance for private development projects, other sustainable ordinances that affect private development projects and ordinances that affect City initiated projects.

In addition to Oakland's local Green Building Ordinance requirements which are detailed below, certain projects will also need to comply with the California Green Building Code known as CALGreen. CALGreen 2013 CALGreen Codewas adopted in January of 2010 and became effective in January 2011. The 2013 amendments to CalGreen require increased green building performance effective January 1, 2014. However, the California Building Standards Commission postponed compliance with certain energy-related CALGreen mandatory measures to July 1, 2014. This postponement mirrors  the California Energy Commission's decision to postpone compliance with 2013 California Energy Code, in Part 6, to July 1, 2014. The other sections of the 2013 Building Code still apply.

The 2013 CALGreen now covers the following project types. 

  • Residential (including low-rise, high-rise, and hotel/motel buildings of R occupancy)and Non-Residential New Construction
  • Residential additions and alterations where the changes increase the building's conditioned area, volume, or size. (NOTE: This requirement applies only to the specific area of the addition or alteration. However, applicant's MUST replace any non-compliant plumbing fixture with water conserving plumbing fixtures even if this is outside the scope of work.)
  • Non-Residential building additions of 1,000 square feet or greater (NOTE: This requirement applies only to the specific area of the addition or alteration.)
  • Non-Residential building alterations with a permit valuation of $200,000 or above (NOTE: This requirement applies only to the specific area of the addition or alteration.)

CALGreen contains mandatory measures that must be implemented and voluntary measures known as Tiers. The City of Oakland has not adopted either Tier but would encourage the implementation of further green building measures. Staff has provided more information regarding the City's local Green Building Ordinance and the 2013 CALGreen codes in the Threshold, Green Building Rating Programs and Checklist sections below.


Green Building Ordinance for Private Development Projects

The City of Oakland adopted mandatory green building standards for private development projects on October 19, 2010 (13040 C.M.S.). Follow the links below to learn about Oakland's new green building ordinance, how it may apply to your development project, and how to succeed with the aid of guidelines, checklists and resources provided by the City.


Click here to view the applicability Thresholds to learn what requirements the ordinance may impose on your project. The Thresholds are divided according to project type and include all the requirements effective starting January 1, 2011.  The following project types are included in the green building ordinance:

  • Residential New Construction
  • Residential Additions and Alterations
  • Non-Residential New Construction
  • Non-Residential Additions and Alterations
  • Removal of a Historic Resource and New Construction
  • Historic Residential Additions and Alterations
  • Historic Non-Residential Additions and Alterations
  • Affordable Housing Construction receiving City or Redevelopment Funds
  • Mixed Use Construction
  • Construction Requiring a Landscape Plan

In addition to the Thresholds above, CALGreen mandatory measures are also required.Click here for a Summary of the Green Building Requirements.


Click on the links below to read the actual ordinance, staff reports and supplemental documents.


The green building ordinance for private development projects was developed over a period of three years and went through an extensive public process including four stakeholder meetings, three community meetings and multiple public hearings. Below are links to the public hearing staff reports for more information on the process leading up to adoption of the ordinance.

Planning Commission Directors Report; September 19, 2007
Special Projects Committee of the Planning Commission; March 20, 2008
Planning Commission; October 1, 2008
Community and Economic Development Committee; October 14, 2008
Special Projects Committee of the Planning Commission; February 19, 2009
Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board; March 9, 2009
Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board; April 13, 2009
Community Meeting; April 20, 2009
Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board; May 11, 2009
Planning Commission; April 21, 2010
CED Committee; June 8, 2010


Click on the links below to review the applicable green building rating programs referenced in the ordinance. Note: There are no guidelines available for the Small Commercial Checklist.


Below are the application forms referenced in the Ordinance.


Click here to view and download all the green building checklists referenced in the ordinance. This page also includes two reference guides that provide a summary of the CALGreen mandatory measures, LEED, and GreenPoint Rated. A completed and up-to-date checklist is a requirement for a complete Planning entitlement, building permit or inspection submittal.



Ordinances Affecting Private Development Projects

The City of Oakland has adopted a number of ordinances to improve the green performance of development projects in Oakland. Follow the links below for more information on how to comply with these other policies and requirements.Photo of construction debris separation



Ordinances Affecting City Projects

In 2005 the City of Oakland adopted the green building ordinance for civic projects. This ordinance establishes green Photo of the Municipal Boathouse a LEED Silver City projectbuilding (e.g. sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency materials selection and indoor environmental quality) requirements for certain City projects. View the City’s Civic Green Building Ordinance.

The City of Oakland adopted an ordinance in July 2009 establishing Bay Friendly sustainable landscaping requirements for certain City projects. View the Civic Bay Friendly Landscaping Ordinance.