City of Santa Monica - Green Building Standards

August 29, 2006


With the exception of one-and-two-family homes and historic buildings, Santa Monica's Green Building Construction & Design Standards apply to all new buildings, and existing buildings whose repair, alteration or rehabilitation costs exceed 50% of their replacement cost.

The standards require all hotels, motels, commercial, institutional, and light industrial buildings to meet an annual energy conservation target that is 15% lower than the corresponding minimally compliant 2001 Title-24 building levels. Multi-family residential and retail buildings must meet a conservation target that is 10% below 2001 Title-24 levels. Builders must use the Santa Monica Energy Code Compliance Application (SMECCA) software program to demonstrate that the buildings meet the energy conservation target.

With respect to renewable energy technologies, solar water heating is mandatory as the primary source to heat swimming pool water and to preheat industrial process water, including but not limited to, car washes and laundries.

To help designers and builders satisfy and surpass the requirements, the City developed Green Building Design and Construction Guidelines, available at the Web site above. These Guidelines include required and recommended practices that are intended to reduce life-cycle environmental impacts associated with the construction and operation of both commercial and municipal developments and major remodeling projects in Santa Monica. Among the recommended practices are properly orienting buildings for daylighting and passive solar heating, using solar hot water heating, and incorporating photovoltaic systems into the building fabric.

Santa Monica's Green Building Program offers grants for buildings that achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Solar Energy Design Standards:

The City of Santa Monica’s zoning regulations contain solar energy design standards intended to incorporate, to the extent feasible, passive heating and cooling opportunities into the design or modification of residential developments. While the standards include provisions that require screening of equipment under certain circumstances, they also state that "any pool or spa facilities other than single family homes owned and maintained by a homeowners association, cooperative, or similar entity shall be provided with a solar cover or solar water heating system."

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: California
Incentive Type: Building Energy Code
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar - Passive
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Solar Space Heat
  • Solar Thermal Process Heat
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Daylighting
  • Solar Pool Heating
  • Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
  • Custom/Others pending approval


Name: Santa Monica Green Building Standards


Name: Susan Munves
Organization: City of Santa Monica
Address: 1212 5th Street
Santa Monica CA 90401-3126
Phone: (310) 458-8229

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.