If you have never dealt with a CALGreen Tier project but have pursued a green building certification, you may find similarities which, upon completion, may lead you to ask: “Where’s my plaque?!”

Since 2007/2008 when the California Green Building Standards (later CALGreen in 2009/2010) came into play, new construction has been required to meet mandatory measures relating to five divisions:

    • Planning and Design (re: Sustainable Sites for LEED)
    • Energy Efficiency (re: Energy and Atmosphere for LEED)
    • Water Efficiency and Conservation (re: Water Efficiency for LEED)
    • Material Conservation and Resource Efficiency (re: Material and Resources for LEED)
    • Environmental Quality (re: Indoor Environmental Quality for LEED)

There are three levels to CALGreen measures- Mandatory, Voluntary Tier 1, and Voluntary Tier 2 (more on this can be found on our previous article). The one that applies to your project is based on individual jurisdiction green building ordinance. While some jurisdictions require projects to pursue a green building certification which earns you a certificate and plaque of recognition, there are a few cities that instead have adopted Tier requirements which only leaves you with a well-earned Certificate of Occupancy. To name a few:

    • City of Los Angeles
    • City of Redlands
    • City of Palo Alto
    • City of Fremont
    • City of Mill Valley
    • City of Livermore
    • City of Sonoma
    • City of Davis

Implementing Tier requirements not only makes your project as energy efficient as a certified green building, it may also require as much documentation and coordination as one. As early as 2010, studies have shown that Tier projects could roughly meet between 51 to 70 points (Certified Level) under Build it Green’s GreenPoint Rated, and only a few points short from LEED for Homes Gold level or LEED for New Construction Silver level. Furthermore, within the last 2 years, USGBC has been working towards aligning California’s robust energy and green building codes to streamline fundamental LEED requirements, making these rating systems easy to pursue, especially if you are already required to meet more than CALGreen mandatory requirements.

In conclusion, next time you are hit with Tier requirements, consider adding a small fee of soft costs for field verification and HERS Tests to help improve your marketability, reach a personal achievement, or put your project on the growing list of green buildings!

For more information on CALGreen and green certifications, contact Moe Fakih below.

Contributing Writer: Barbara G. Gonzalez, Project Manager

Moe Fakih, Principal