News Brief

California Code Scores LEED Points

Many LEED v4 prerequisites and credits are now automatic for projects meeting the CALGreen code.

Projects like the LEED Platinum CalSTRS headquarters could have a much easier time getting certified under new LEED guidance.

Photo: Paul Housberg. License: CC BY 2.0.
UPDATE: This article was updated on April 19, 2018, to reflect major changes announced by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Commercial building projects and homes in California can now get a huge jumpstart on achieving LEED certification.

New construction, commercial interiors projects, and both single-family and mid-rise multifamily homes meeting certain requirements will enjoy streamlined documentation to achieve LEED v4 prerequisites and credits. The move acknowledges significant overlaps between the voluntary LEED rating systems and the progressive energy and building codes in the state.

For Building Design and Construction (BD+C) projects, all prerequisites can be earned, along with six optional credits, for a total of six automatic points. The BD+C credits to be awarded are:

For a full list of prerequisites and credits that can be earned for LEED for Commercial Interiors (ID+C) and LEED for Homes projects, see the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website.

The decision updates prior guidance by USGBC that allowed far fewer automatic prerequisites and a different set of credits for California projects. Prior guidance also applied only to BD+C projects.

“This alignment in LEED represents an evolution by the USGBC to better support and encourage green building code adoptions across the country,” said Wes Sullens, USGBC’s director of codes technical development, in an email announcement. “We hope that California’s leadership can showcase how a strong green building code helps fulfill the local and state goals as well as our mission to achieve green buildings for all.”

In addition to this streamlining, USGBC has developed a tool designed to reconcile differences between the type of energy modeling required for the CALGreen code and that required for LEED. Using the resulting tables soon to be published by the organization, project teams can document the Optimize Energy Performance credit without having to create two different energy models. This can potentially help them earn more than the automatic one point offered under the credit.

Projects registered to take advantage of the CALGreen streamlining comprise more than three million square feet, according to USGBC.

For more information:

U.S. Green Building Council

Published August 14, 2017

Melton, P. (2017, August 14). California Code Scores LEED Points. Retrieved from

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December 4, 2017 - 2:54 pm

Thank you BuildingGreen for this article. If readers are interested in learning more or signing up for the California-LEED streamlining, please visit

On the webpage, viewers will find links to a registration form for the ACPs, a list of possible credits and prerequisites that are eligible for streamlining, and a guidance document with step-by-step instructions for utilizing the ACPs in LEED project submittals.