New Single-Family Green Building Requirements Coming This Summer

A couple weeks ago, we told you that the U.S. Green Building Council had updated its LEED rating system and discussed the implications for projects. But LEED isn’t the only green building code updating this year.

Build It Green’s GreenPoints Rated rating system, which is used for residential projects covered by San Francisco’s green building ordinance, is updating its guidelines and checklists for single-family home new construction. These new guidelines and checklists are slated for release in June, 2009.

San Francisco’s ordinance will continue to permit a project to show it meets the GreenPoints Rated 2007 version requirements, rather than under the new checklists. There will likely be a grace period in which projects will be able to register to be certified under the 2007 version requirements after release of the new system, although Build It Green has not announced a time frame for the grace period as of yet. After the expiration of this grace period, projects registered after the release date will likely need to meet the requirements of the new GreenPoints Rated system to be officially certified under GreenPoints Rated.

The applicability of these changes will differ depending upon each city’s green building ordinance. For instance, San Francisco does not require a project to be officially GreenPoint Rated, but rather to show that it would achieve thresholds unique to the City. San Francisco requires single-family homes obtaining a site permit in 2009 to show the project will achieve a minimum of 25 GreenPoints. As of January 1, 2010 through 2011, a single-family home must achieve a minimum of 50 GreenPoints. After January 1, 2012, a new single-family home must achieve a minimum of 75 GreenPoints. In showing that a project meets these point thresholds, either the GreenPoint Rated 2007 version or the new version may be used in San Francisco. Other local governments use different approaches, and their green building ordinances should be consulted to determine the effects of these changes.

The most substantial changes to the new GreenPoints Rated system for single-family homes will derive from energy efficiency revisions to Title 24. The new GreenPoint Rated system will still require the home to achieve an efficiency of at least 15% above Title 24; as the 2008 Title 24 is more stringent than the 2005 Title 24 requirements on which the current rating system is based, the new GreenPoint Rated rating system will also become more stringent. All of the proposed changes can be reviewed at Build It Green’s website, which is

Reuben & Junius, LLP is a full service real estate law firm. We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law. We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leases, purchase and sale agreements, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.