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Green Building Program

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Green building design, construction and operation can have a significant positive effect on energy and resource efficiency, waste and pollution generation, and the health and productivity of a building's occupants over the life of the structure. The City of Santa Cruz seeks to promote environmental sustainability of natural resources including incentives for waste reduction, energy efficiency, water conservation and climate protection.

City of Santa Cruz Green Building Ordinance (amended 2013)

2019 California Green Building Standards Code (CalGreen)

Prioritized Processing

The Santa Cruz Green Building Program extends Prioritized Permit Processing to all projects achieving the  2nd Level of Green Building points through selected Voluntary Measures.

Note that this prioritized processing is limited to GREEN BUILDING plan review and does not include plan reviews by other City Departments.

At plan intake, notify City staff that your project has achieved the Green Building Prioritized  Permit Level.


A set of user-friendly documents are available to aid in compliance with City and State requirements.

Residential Documents

Residential Guidelines* (pdf)                                                                *Under Revision

Residential New Construction Checklist (excel)

Residential Remodels/Additions Checklist (excel)

Construction Waste Management Plan (pdf)

2016 CALGreen Mandatory Residential Measures  (pdf)

Non-Residential Documents

Non-Residential Guidelines* (pdf)                                                                *Under Revision

Non-Residential New Construction Checklist (excel)

Tenant Improvements Checklist (excel)

Construction Waste Management Plan (pdf)

2016 CALGreen Nonresidential Changes Summary (pdf)

Earn a Green Building Award!

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The City recognizes projects developed and completed by forward-thinking members of the community. The award process identifies projects utilizing the highest standard for techniques in green construction and sustainable design.

Two award levels are recognized by the City of Santa Cruz based on elements selected using the Green Building Checklist. Both Residential and Non-Residential projects are eligible to participate in the award program. Projects may be issued an Award Certificate for Excellence in Green Building and/or an Award Plaque for Exceptional Design. 

Interested in more Green Focus Programs?


Certified Green Business

Climate Action Program

Recycling and Waste Reduction

San Lorenzo Urban River Project

Water Conservation

Are you ready to GO SOLAR?

Go Solar Santa Cruz 

City of Santa Cruz Solar Informational Brochure (pdf)

Regional Solar Contractors (pdf)


Want to make every drop count?

Water Conservation Rebates

Graywater Informational Brochure (pdf)

Laundry Graywater Agreement (pdf)

Resource Conservation District Publications (external site)

Stormwater Management

Water Resources Management



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