Green Building Components - Tools


The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) developed A Guide to the California Green Building Standards Code, for residential green building standards for new low-rise residential construction. Download the Guide and view related publications. 

A Tool Kit for Affordable Home Developers to Go Solar

The New Solar Homes Partnership and Housing California have released a new tool kit including incentives, resources and case studies. The pdf version can be downloaded from the New Solar Homes Partnership website, along with other helpful tool kits and reports.
The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits,

A new guidebook has been released that's aimed at helping planners and city officials to know which types of green infrastructure are worth investment.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and American Rivers produced the new guide, titled "The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits."

Download the Guide

Benefits Toolkit

LEED Certification

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green-building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) launched LEED in 2000. It offers four levels for award, based on points earned in multiple categories: certified, silver, gold, and platinum.

GreenPoint Rated

GreenPoint Rated is a third-party rating system for homes designed by Build It Green, a California non-profit membership organization whose mission it is to accelerate the adoption of green-building practices.  The program has separate systems for new homes, existing homes and multi-family development.  Each is based on a set of green-building measures used to evaluate a home's environmental performance that includes energy efficiency, resource conservation, indoor air quality, water conservation and community benefit.  
The website includes Green Building Guidelines for each program and also offers Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) and Certified GreenPoint Rater Training for New and Existing Home certification.  A Certified GreenPoint Rater evaluates a home's green features.  Build It Green’s Green Building Guidelines and/or GreenPoint Rated Program are used by 70 local government policies, and are endorsed by California Energy Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments, and the Home Builders Association of Northern California.

California Home Energy Rating System (HERS)

California Energy Commission oversees the California Home Energy Rating System (HERS) program.  Commission-certified providers conduct field verification and diagnostic testing of duct sealing, thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs), refrigerant charge, airflow measurement and building envelope sealing measures. A HERS rater inspection is required where a Title 24 report mandates inspection of installation in the building or where an energy-efficiency incentive program requires verification of appropriately installed energy-efficiency measures, whether or not the actual verification and/or diagnostic test is mandated by the Title 24 report. HERS raters must complete a training course and pass a certification exam, to be certified as independent, third-party inspectors. The Residential and Nonresidential Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing Regulations Manuals, which cover testing and verification protocols, are on the website:HERS raters can be located through:

Building Commissioning

California Commissioning Collaborative (CCC) offers an online database and library, commissioning training and tools

Building Commissioning Association (BCA) offersnational guidance on improving performance of operations maintenance without rigid commissioning process. 

Toolkit for In-House Commissioning of Small Projects [50,000 square feet or less]

Green Building Action Plan - California Energy Commission 

California Commissioning Guide: New Buildings

California Commissioning Guide: Existing Buildings

Green Globes
Affordable building assessment system originating from Canada, built around a series of steps for integration of sustainability into design and management and onsite rating of commercial buildings. Third party certification from a Green Building Initiative authorized verifier


Additional Online Tools

Preservation Green Lab [national clearinghouse for best practices and model policies]

Determine a Home's Carbon Emissions With The New GreenPoint Rated Climate Calculator
GreenPoint Rated has recently launched the new GreenPoint Rated Climate Calculator, “the first online calculator to measure total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoided by building greener homes.

Cool California 
The California Air Resources Board has recently approved a toolkit to help local governments reduce costs while addressing the state's forward-thinking greenhouse gas reduction goals. The one stop shop approach will assist cities and counties with a menu of options for implementing programs and plans to cut climate change emissions, and provides links to financial resources and case studies. The site includes a toolkit for Small Businesses, as well.

State Energy Code On-Line Training
Video training on energy code and related residential and commercial building design and construction issues; including Residential Code, Energy Code, HVAC, Building Envelope and more. Each “Resource” module is comprised of training videos and resource links.

Bay-Friendly Landscape Guidelines
Click here for the pdf

River-Friendly Landscape Guidelines
Click here for the pdf

Smart Mobility Framework
CalTrans Office of Community Planning, in partnership with US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and in collaboration with other state project partners- the Governor's Office of Planning & Research (OPR) and the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD), has produced a planning guide to further integrate smart growth concepts into transportation plans, programs, or projects (e.g., Regional Transportation and Blueprint Plans, General Plans, corridor plans, specific development proposals, etc.) in California.

GreenSpec-Listed Green BuildingProducts

GreenSpec® Product Guide lists over 2,200 environmentally preferable products selected by editors at BuildingGreen, LLC. The guide includes key insight on the green attributes of each product and the most critical green issues for each product category.