CalGreen for San Jose

San Jose Building Department

The city of San Jose has adopted the current Green Building Standards Code. This can be found in the San Jose Municipal Code section 24.10.100. You can read the code section here.

The code requires projects submit a CalGreen Checklist, along with their permit submittal. This applies to all residential and commercial projects, including ADU’s. In addition, residential remodels that add either conditioned area, volume or space must also submit a CalGreen Checklist.

Commercial additions or alterations that add more than 1,000 square feet, or have a permit valuation of $200,000 or more, must also submit a CalGreen Checklist.

San Jose has made limited amendments to the CalGreen Code. These include certain exceptions to the electric vehicle charging requirements. These are detailed in the municipal code sections 24.10.200 and 24.10.300. 

Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, the city has a large number of misleading documents on their Planning, Building and Code Enforcement website. These include many outdated code pamphlets, bulletins, and links. If you are looking for information for your project make sure you check the publication date and the referenced code edition.  

To be fair, San Jose is no different than most city and county websites that struggle to keep online information updated. The never-ending funding and staffing cuts means priorities have to be set. Apparently, funds for updating websites seem to take a low priority.

San Jose Residential CalGreenHCD CalGreen

The city requires the submission of the HCD CalGreen Checklist for all residential projects. Unfortunately, this is one of the more extensive and confusing checklists to fill out. The reason for this is that is includes not only the required Mandatory Measures, but also, all of the voluntary Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements.

San Jose has not adopted either the Tier 1 or Tier 2 requirements for residential projects. When filling out the checklist all of these items should be marked, “NA” (not applicable). The Tier requirements can best be identified by the section number. Any section starting with the letter “A” is a Tier requirement that is not required in San Jose. See the image below for a mark-up example.

2019 HCD CalGreen Checklist

   The HCD State of California CalGreen Checklist

San Jose Commercial CalGreen

The City of San Jose requires all commercial projects submit a CalGreen Checklist. 

The checklist located in the code simply lists the code section and title. It does not provide the full language of the referenced code section. Unless you are a CalGreen specialist it has become difficult to determine which mandatory requirements apply to your project. Here is the first page of the CalGreen Non-residential Mandatory Measures:  

2019 CalGreen Non-Res Mandatory Measures Checklist

         Non-Res. Mandatory Measures Checklist

San Jose will accept the AIA Non-residential checklist in lieu of the one from the code. However, this checklist can be difficult to navigate with detailed knowledge of the CalGreen Code.

Why You Need A CalGreen Specialist for San Jose Projects

The extensive amount of confusing, outdated and misleading information on the city website regarding CalGreen can create delays to your permit approval. Furthermore, the city staff are not the most knowledgeable on the CalGreen Code and can provide little assistance. This is not a knock on the San Jose building department, it is just the reality of tight budgets and a portion of the building code that is not well understood.

There are three important aspects to your project. The first is getting the CalGreen portion of your permit approved without delay.

The second is ensuring that you do not pay for compliance items that are not required for your project.

The third is ensuring that the minimum code requirements are included in your permit plans so there are no surprises when it comes getting your occupancy permit. 

It takes a CalGreen specialist to ensure all of the above goals are met. Having your CalGreen Checklist authored by a CalGreen specialist costs as little as $245 (residential projects). There is no reason not to ensure this portion of your project is handled professionally. 

CalGreen professional

At CalGreen Energy Services we are specialists in the CalGreen Code. CalGreen is our only business. If you have a CalGreen question please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to share our knowledge.   


Call us today and let us show you how we can help with your project.

Gary Welch


Phone: 707-328-5299

ICC Certified CalGreen Inspector

CalGreen Energy Services

CalGreen Checklist

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