Green Building Codes and Standards


California was the first state to institute a state-wide green building code. The 2010 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) has been updated several times. This code establishes minimum green building standards for most new construction projects in California. It is having a significant impact on product manufacturers, the design and construction industry, and local jurisdictions that are charged with implementing the code. Visit the official CALGreen website to download the latest version of the code and to view other important state documents.

Stopwaste, a public agency promoting reducing waste in Alameda County, CA has published a comparison of CALGreen and USGBC LEED v4 BD&C. CALGreen 2013 code mandatory & voluntary tier measures are matched against LEED v4 prerequisites & credits with parallel intent. The purpose of the comparison is to identify the opportunities for achieving LEED credits when meeting the requirements of all CALGreen code mandatory and optional measures. The analysis shows that compliance with CALGreen measures can relatively easily result in compliance with LEED v4 Low-Emitting Materials credits.

To learn more about product testing to meet the indoor environmental quality requirements of the mandatory and optional sections of CALGreen, contact us.

National & International Green Building Standards

ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 was originally created through a collaborative effort involving ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Illuminating Engineering Society. The standard is written in code-intended language so that it may be referenced or adopted by government agencies to provide the minimum acceptable level of design criteria for high-performance green buildings. The 189.1 standard is under continuous maintenance. The VOC emissions and VOC content requirements in Section 8.4.2, Materials are similar to those in LEED v4.

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is published by the International Code Council and serves as an overlay to a set of existing international codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code and ICC-700, the National Green Building Standard. It incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an alternate path to compliance. Section 806 specifies VOC emissions and VOC content requirements for interior construction products and materials.

The following table identifies the mandatory and voluntary product VOC emissions requirements in CALGreen and outlines the VOC emissions sections of ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

Green Building Code

Type of Building




New residential in CA

4.504.3: Carpet systems

4.504.4: Resilient flooring systems

New nonresidential in CA

5.504.4.4: Carpet systems
5.504.4.6: Resilient flooring systems



New residential in CA

A4.504.2: Resilient flooring systems
A4.504.3: Thermal insulation

New nonresidential in CA

A5.504.4.7: Resilient flooring systems, Tier 1
A5.504.4.7.1: Resilient flooring systems, Tier 2
A5.504.4.8: Thermal insulation, Tier 1
A5.504.4.8.1: Thermal insulation, Tier 2
A5.504.4.9: Acoustical ceilings and wall panels
A5.504.8.4: Carpet systems


Under Continous Maintenance

All, except low-rise residential Adhesives & Sealants Paints & Coatings Floor Covering Materials Composite Wood, Wood Structural Panel & Agrifiber Products Office Furniture Systems & Seating Ceiling & Wall Systems

International Green Construction Code (IgCC)

All; coordinates with ICC family of codes

806.1: Glued Wood Products

806.2: Adhesives & Sealants

806.3: Architectural Paints & Coatings

806.4: Flooring

806.5: Acoustical Ceiling Tiles & Wall Systems

806.6: Insulation