Green Building Green Building
Code Requirements

Santa Monica Local Amendments to CalGreen Standards  

The California Green Building Standards (CALGreen) and California Energy Code (Energy Code) were updated by the State in 2013. The City of Santa Monica adopted these Codes effective January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2014, respectively.  At this time no Santa Monica Local Amendments to the State Codes are being enforced.  The City is analyzing the feasibility of Local Amendments and will update this page if City Council elects to make modifications.

Note: The language below represents the content of this webpage prior to the 2013 State Code updates.

The City of Santa Monica has adopted local amendments to the California Green Building Standards Code.  These amendments are summarized below and are effective as of March 28, 2012.  All building permit applications received on or after March 28, 2012 will be subject to these local amendments.

1) 15% Energy Efficiency  (SMMC 8.106.055, 8.106.180)

All new buildings shall be designed to use 15% less energy than required by the California Energy Code.

2) Solar Pool heating  (SMMC 8.106.055, 8.106.180)

This is a modification to the existing solar pool heating requirement.  The modification clarifies that spas, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis are not subject to the requirement.  It also adds an exemption for situations where solar pool heating would be technically infeasible.  New pools continue to be required to have solar heating be the primary heat source.

3) Pipe Insulation when Replacing a Water Heater (SMMC 8.106.055, 8.106.180)

Whenever a water heater is replaced, exposed and accessible hot water pipes connected to that water heater must be insulated per California Energy Commission requirements

4) Plumbing Fixture water use reduction (SMMC 8.106.057, 8.106.190)

CalGreen requires that new buildings install plumbing fixtures that use 20% less water.  This amendment requires that any new plumbing fixture installed in any new or existing building must achieve the same water use reduction, unless the permit applicant can demonstrate that installing such a fixture would be technically infeasible.

5) 70% Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion  (SMMC 8.108.150)

Previously, projects were required to divert 65% of C&D Waste from the landfill.  Now projects are required to divert 70% of C&D Waste from the landfill.  More information is available from the Resource Recovery and Recycling Division website.

6) Solar Ready  (SMMC 8.106.055, 8.106.180)

All new construction is required to be “solar-ready”, by providing adequate roof space for future solar panel installation.  Adequate roof space is unshaded, oriented and sized appropriately, and compliant with Fire Department required setbacks.  Single family homes must provide 250 ft² of roof space; all other buildings must provide 30% of the area of the roof.  Buildings that install a grid-connected solar photovoltaic system are exempt from this requirement.  See the full requirement below.
Solar Ready Requirements for New Construction:

All new buildings shall provide solar-ready roof area to facilitate the installation of future solar energy equipment.

a) Such solar-ready roof area shall be:

i) EITHER flat, OR south-facing with a thirty-three percent (33%) roof slope (four units vertical in twelve units horizontal) or less ;
ii) Unshaded;
iii) Free from obstructions;
iv) In contiguous areas of no less than 100 square feet; and
v) Not otherwise required to be left open and unobstructed in order to ensure adequate fire or life-safety protection, including but not limited to required clearances for firefighting access.

b) Minimum solar-ready roof space required:

i) Single Family Dwellings: 250 square feet
ii) All other buildings: thirty percent (30%) of the total roof area

c) Exceptions: The requirements of this Section shall be waived if:

i) The building is designed and constructed with a solar energy system that is tied to the electrical grid and is capable of generating electricity;
ii) The roof of the building is designed and approved to be used for vehicular traffic or parking; or
iii) Compliance is technically infeasible due to lack of sufficient unshaded area based on surrounding conditions, lack of sufficient roof space or other similar conditions.

2008-2011 Code Requirements

For building permit applications between May 22, 2008 and March 27, 2012, please consult the following:

The City of Santa Monica has specific building code requirements for all new construction and substantial remodels.  Refer to the full text here:  
Section 8.108 of the Santa MonicaMunicipal Code

These requirements are in four different areas.  Each link below has more information about how to comply with the requirements for that area:

Energy Conservation
All projects must exceed Title 24 energy compliance by 10%.  In addition, all domestic hot water pipes must be insulated from the water heater to the end fixture with at least R-6 insulation for pipes under 2" in diameter (usually this is equivalent to 1 inch thick foam insulation).  All pools that are heated must use solar as the primary heat source.  Solar must be installed with an area of 70% of the surface area of the pool.  If the pool is 1000 square feet, 700 square feet of solar heating panels must be installed.  Applicants may alternatively show that the proposed heating system provides 65% of the annual energy required to heat the pool.

Green Building Materials

Select one material from 5 of the 10 areas on the Green Building Materials list. This material must be used for 50% of building square footage or 100% of building fixtures.  Please include this list in your plans, along with cut sheets or other manufacturer’s information that documents the green attributes of the material.

Green BuildingMaterials List

Landscaping and Irrigation
All new construction projects that incorporate landscape and irrigation work require submittal of Landscape and Irrigation Plans.  Landscape and Irrigation Plans for review and approval by the City.  If no landscape and irrigation work is to be done, this needs to be noted on the plans.  If landscape and irrigation is to be done at a later date, plans will be submitted then for an irrigation permit. 
Construction and Demolition Waste
All projects must divert 65% of their construction and demolition waste from the landfill.  This number cannot include inert materials.  

Urban Runoff
New construction may require measures to capture and treat rainwater from the site.  



Last updated: Wednesday, 10/14/2015

High Performance Buildings Study

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