About Green Building in Marin County

Community Development Agency

Why Green Building?

Green Building is a whole systems approach to construction and building operations that minimizes the large impact that our built environment has on our environment. In addition to saving on utility cost and reducing carbon emissions, green buildings provide many co-benefits to occupants, landlords, and homeowners including long term value, reduced energy and water use, reduced maintenance, and a more comfortable and healthier indoor environment.

The State’s California Energy Commission (CEC) updates mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings statewide – also known as Title 24, Parts 6 and 11 – every three years. For more details and green building resources visit the CEC Building Energy Efficiency Standards website.

For Marin County, energy efficiency standards or green building energy requirements are also updated once every three years dating back to 2013. Marin County typically adopts more aggressive standards than the state minimum, in line with its progressive environmental history. These requirements are adopted into nonresidential and residential building codes for unincorporated Marin County. Incorporated jurisdictions, or Cities and Towns, within the county may have different green building requirements ranging from meeting the State’s mandatory minimum to more aggressive. It is up to each incorporated jurisdiction to adopt its own green building energy requirements.

The current text of the Green Building Requirements for unincorporated Marin County is located in Title 19 Marin County Building Code, Subchapter 2 – Green Building Requirements. It is important to note the definition of "Demolition" according to County of Marin Development Code Chapter 22.130.030: "Removal or substantial modification of more than 75 percent of the linear sum of a building’s exterior walls, counted for all stories, shall be considered demolition of the building." This triggers new construction requirements under the Green Building Requirements.

Marin County has other requirements that enhance the implementation of green building features. Currently, there is a Construction and Demolition Reuse and Recycling Ordinance and Low-Carbon Concrete Ordinance both required to comply with Title 19 Marin County Building Code.