California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Sustainable Building Task Force

Policy and Law

Planning Documents

The strategy for achieving the Sustainable Building goal is found in: Building Better Buildings: A Blueprint for Sustainable State Facilities (Blueprint). Prior to drafting the Blueprint, several agencies participating in the Sustainable Building Task Force developed planning documents that complement the Blueprint and will be used to advance the state goal.

California State Government


Actions in the Blueprint are supported by various State mandates, however, compliance with many existing State statutes often falls short of the mark. A list is provided with links to more information.

State of California Codes, Regulations, and Ordinances

Energy Efficiency

  • For over 20 years, California law has mandated energy efficiency through the Energy Code, which: requires the Energy Commission and the Building Standards Commissions to establish energy efficiency standards for residential and non-residential buildings, California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 6, California Energy Code.

Additionally, cities and counties have ordinances relating to outdoor lighting.

Indoor Air Quality

The Air Resources Board (ARB), Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) work in partnership to:

  • Develop guidelines to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from construction materials, Health and Safety Code § 105405
  • Evaluate potential human exposure to toxic indoor air contaminants, Health and Safety Code § 39660.5
  • Develop a list of toxic air contaminants that are highest priority based on potential health impacts, SB 25, Statutes of 1999 as Chapter 731.
  • Publish list of agents, which may potentially cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, Proposition 65, pursuant to Governor's Executive Order W-15-91, Health and Safety Code § 5249.12 and 25249.8c.
  • Conduct a study on the environmental conditions in California's portable classrooms, AB 2872, Shelley, Statutes of 2000, Health and Safety Code § 39619.6.
  • Regulation for the Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program (diesel engines), California Code of Regulations, Title 13, § 2450 - 2466
  • Establish a program to conduct and promote research related to the causes, effects, extent, prevention and control of indoor pollution, Health and Safety Code § 105400-105430.
  • Smoking is not allowed in California public buildings except in designated enclosed smoking rooms with exhaust to outside and no air recirculation to other parts of the building as per AB 13. Many local governments prohibit the operation of smoking rooms in their jurisdictions.
  • Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001 This bill requires DHS to determine the feasibility of permissible exposure limits to mold, and if possible, to adopt permissible exposure limits to mold for indoor environments that avoid adverse health effects.

Materials Efficiency

The California Integrated Waste Management Board in partnership with local jurisdictions is responsible for implementing the state's waste diversion and recycled-content procurement mandates. Specifically, these mandates require:

  • All State agencies shall require all contractors to certify in writing the minimum percentage, if not the exact percentage, of postconsumer and secondary material in the materials, goods, or services provided or used. Public Contract Code § 12205
  • All local and State public agencies to purchase recycled products instead of non-recycled products whenever available and wherever fitness and quality are equal. Assembly Bill (AB) 4, Eastin, 1989, Public Contract Code § 12210.
  • All local public agencies shall require the bidder to specify the minimum, if not exact, percentage of recycled products offered, both the post consumer and secondary waste content regardless of whether the product meets the percentage of recycled product required pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 12200. Public Contract Code § 12210.
  • On or before August 31, 1991, and every year thereafter, the Department of General Services, in consultation with the board, shall prepare a report to the Legislature describing the purchase and procurement of products purchased by the state before and after January 1, 1990. The report shall detail as much as possible, the amount of recycled products utilized by state contractors before and after the enactment of this chapter. Public Contract Code § 12225.
  • State agencies and large state facilities (e.g., universities) to develop and implement plans to divert 25% of their solid waste by 2002 and 50% by 2004. AB 75, Strom-Martin, Statutes of 1999, Public Resources Code § 42920-42922.
  • Local agencies to adopt an ordinance relating to adequate areas for collection and loading of recyclable materials in development projects. AB 1327, Farr, Statutes of 1991, Ch. 842, Public Resources Code § 42910-11.

Additionally, many local jurisdictions have ordinances concerning management of construction and demolition materials

Water Efficiency

Water conservation is state policy (Water Code Sections 100 & 101) and is implemented through a partnership between local water districts and the Department of Water Resources. Specifically, the state codes require:

  • All local jurisdictions to adopt a landscape water conservation ordinance, AB 325, Statutes of 1990, California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Ch 2.7, § 490-495.
  • California Water Recycling Regulations and Statutes, California Health and Safety Code, Division 13, Part 1.5, Chapter 2, Section 17921.3 and California Code of Regulations, Title 20, Division 2, Chapter 4, Article 4, Section 1604 and California Code of Regulations Titles 22 and 17.

Task Force Home Page

Last updated: December 8, 2014
Green Building
Greg Dick:  (916) 341-6489