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Last Updated June 18, 2024

Program Overview


Regulatory Policy



Incentive Type:

Energy Standards for Public Buildings



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Expiration Date:


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Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:



On December 14, 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-20-04, creating a Green Building Action Plan to improve the energy performance of all state buildings. The order established energy savings targets for state facilities, declared the "Silver" level of LEED as the minimum performance standard for new buildings, and to required state government to purchase ENERGY STAR products when cost effective.

Governor Gerry Brown signed Executive Order (B-18-12), in April of 2012, updated some of these requirements while rescinding the earlier Executive Order. It adjusted the energy savings targets such that grid-based energy purchases must be reduced by 20% by 2018 using 2003 as a baseline. New state buildings and major renovations started after 2025 must be constructed to be zero net energy, while 50% of existing square footage must be in the process of achieving zero net energy by 2025.  Additionally, S.B 416 requires that all new buildings or major renovations larger than 10,000 square feet earn the "Gold" level of LEED certification and incorporate on-site renewable energy if economically feasible.

California has additional legislation (GC14710-14714) requiring the identification of public buildings where it is feasible to reduce energy consumption, achieve energy efficiencies, produce onsite electrical generation, or reduce the level of peak electricity consumption using alternative energy equipment, thermal energy storage technologies, or cogeneration equipment.

In addition, A.B. 532 of 2007 extended a requirement specifically for solar energy equipment to be installed on state buildings. The law required solar water heaters and photovoltaics to be installed on any public building, parking facility, or state-owned swimming pool by January 1, 2009, where such an installation is determined to be cost-effective over the life of the system and funding is available. Additionally, the law requires solar energy equipment must be installed, when feasible, on any new public building or parking facility constructed after January 1, 2008. Click here for more information about solar installed on public buildings.