Green Building Program

Green buildings provide communities with many benefits. They save water and energy, provide healthy environments, reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gases, and are economical to own and operate. Recognizing the benefits to our community of green building, the County adopted a Green Building Ordinance for residential and commercial properties in unincorporated communities in 2009.

What is the Green Building Ordinance?

The Green Building Ordinance promotes practices that will reduce water and resource usage, reduce waste, and increase energy efficiency in the construction or remodeling of residential and nonresidential structures. By setting standards beyond state standards, our communities will enjoy buildings that provide a healthy and productive environment for workers, residents, and visitors and are economical to own and operate.

Why green building?

We spend 80% of our time indoors on average, making the health of our buildings directly linked to our personal health. According to data from the United States Department of Energy, structures are responsible for 48% of all greenhouse gas emissions either through construction or operations. To meet the challenge of climate change, building green is one of the most cost effective strategies as technologies allow us construct or remodel buildings that conserve resources and use less energy.

What does this mean to me?

Anyone applying for a building permit needs to submit documentation showing proof of meeting green building standards for review by the Building Inspection Department.  Acceptable certifications include GreenPoint Rated, LEED® or certification from a qualified third party.

What types of projects are affected?

All new or rebuilt residential construction greater than 1,000 square feet and all new or rebuilt non-residential construction greater than 3,000 square feet located in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County.

Certain industrial or agricultural uses along with qualified historical building are exempt.


The County provides expedited building permits and inspection processing for qualified green building projects under a third party certification program that achieves:

  • Residential
    • 100 GreenPoint by Build it Green; or

    • A LEED for Homes certification.

  • Non-Residential – LEED Silver Certification.

Submittal Requirements

  • Planning Process: Submit preliminary green design features as part of planning approval process.
  • Building Permit Process: Submit construction plans to include green features in compliance with the requirements.
  • Inspection Process: Inspector will verify green features during inspections for required projects.

Design Standards

  • New Residential (two units or less) – Achieve 50 GreenPoint by Build it Green or LEED for Homes.
  • New Multifamily or existing Residential – Achieve 25 GreenPoint by Build it Green or LEED for Homes.
  • Non Residential 3,000 (10,000 square feet) - - Submit LEED checklist to achieve minimum Rating.
  • Large Non-Residential (10,000 square feet or greater) – Achieve minimum LEED rating.
  • Other design standards may be used upon preapproval.

Additional Information