San Francisco adopted a mandatory green building code for new construction projects in September 2008, establishing strict guidelines for residential and commercial buildings according to the following schedule:
GreenFinanceSF is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, and is funded through a mix of bonds and funds granted to the city through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). GreenFinance SF uses an "open-market" PACE model in which individual property owners identify their own project lenders and negotiate all the financing terms with them. The City collects loan repayments from the participant through a special tax lien on the property and disburses payment to the project lender.
Single family homeowners in San Francisco's PG&E territory can receive Green Home Assessments, providing detailed reports showing energy loss, heat tests, and a list of improvements that will achieve the energy savings goals for San Francisco's Home Improvement & Performance Program. Improvements through this program might include improving insulation, air & duct sealing, and improved heating and cooling systems. Participating contractors can be located and contacted from the website above.
The City and County of San Francisco, through the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), are providing incentives to residents and businesses who install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their properties. Systems must be at least one kilowatt (kW) in capacity, and there is no maximum size limit to participate. Different incentive levels are available whether the property is residential, commercial, low-income residential, non-profit, or multi-family residential owned and operated by a non-profit.
In October 2008, the City of San Jose enacted the Private Sector Green Building Policy (Policy No. 6-32). The policy was adopted in Ordinance No. 28622 in June, 2009. All new buildings must meet certain green building requirements in order to receive a building permit. Requirements are dependent on the size and type of the project.
The San Jose Environmental Services Department has developed voluntary guidelines to encourage solar orientation in new construction. These Solar Access Design Guidelines specify that the long axis of new dwellings should face within 30 degrees west and 45 degrees east of true south. Because houses in a subdivision usually face the street, planners in San Jose found that the easiest way to achieve solar orientation was to orient the streets within 30 degrees of the true east-west axis. Homes in such a subdivision would have good solar orientation by default.
Building, Planning and Electrical Permits are required for Photovoltiac (PV) systems installed in San Jose. In most cases, PV systems must also undergo a Building Plan Review and an Electrical Plan Review. Building Plan Reviews are not required for installations that meet all of the following criteria:
Before a development plan can be approved in the City of Santa Cruz, it must be found that the orientation and location of buildings, structures, open spaces and other features of the site plan preserve solar access of adjacent properties. In addition, buildings and structures should be designed and oriented to make use of natural elements such as solar radiation, wind and landscaping for heating, cooling and ventilation. Developers must also show that heating systems for hot tubs and swimming pools are solar when possible, and in all cases, energy efficient.
In early 2002, the City of Santa Monica began waiving building permit fees for solar energy systems. In December 2008, after months of working with industry trainers, solar contractors and staff from the Solar Santa Monica office, the city released their [http://www.solarsantamonica.com/documents/PVSubmittalRequirement2010.pdf guidelines] for basic information required for photovoltaic plan check submittal. The guidelines were subsequently amended in 2010.
The City of Santa Monica allows for priority plan check processing for building projects that are registered with the United States Green Building Council for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The priority status applies to all new buildings and major renovations which total an amount exceeding fifty percent of their replacement cost.