When it comes to green building, San Diego is a leading example in sustainability and energy and water consumption. Here are some green building incentives that apply to San Diego real estate.
The Green Building Incentive Program
San Diego County is dedicated to protecting the environment and encouraging builders, businesses, and homeowners to adopt environmentally friendly practices. The San Diego Green Building Program encourages sustainable real estate development while protecting the environment and maintaining a high quality of life among residents.
The program incentives builders to incorporate resource-efficient materials as well as energy efficient and water conservation features in newly constructed or remodeled residential and commercial properties. Desirable outcomes include:
- Reduced electric and water utility costs
- Reduced environmental impact
- Enhanced community and environmental health
Incentives include a shorter plan check turnaround time for eligible real estate projects as well asa reduction of about 7.5% in plan checking and building permit fees. To qualify for program incentives, a project must comply with any of the following resource conservation measures:
- Natural resource conservation
- Energy conservation energy use of 15% or 25% below Title 24/California Energy Commission (CEC) standards for residential and commercial projects, respectively.
- Water conservation and gray water systems
- Straw bale construction for exterior walls
- Reused materials and recycled content with at least 20% of primary building materials or one primary material containing a minimum weighted average of 20% to 50% post-consumer recycled content materials, respectively.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
The City of San Diego adopted the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Level rating system in 2002. This design standard applies to new municipal buildings and large-scale remodeling projects that exceed 5,000 square feet. City buildings with Silver Level certification are 12% to 17% more energy-efficient and more economical to operate.
The San Diego Environmental Services Energy Conservation and Management Division is responsible for reviewing municipal building plans to make sure that all new buildings are constructed to Silver Level standards.
Better Buildings Initiative
The City of San Diego joined the Better Climate Challenge in 2022 and committed to halving its GHG emissions by 2030. Its Climate Action Plan includes a community-wide goal of greenhouse gas reductions and going net zero by 2035. The city’s strategies include 100% renewable electricity; enhanced resiliency measures; zero waste; optimal water and energy efficiency; and improved bicycling, walking, transit and land use.
The city aims to meet these goals by building on the accomplishments of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. San Diego has since made improvements, upgrades, and retrofit projects to public facilities. These changes are expected to save roughly 18 million kilowatt-hours each year. The city also plans to implement measures related to sustainable policies and provisions, retro-commissioning, and renewable energy.