The city of Pasadena, California has adopted into its municipal code Green Building Practices in order to promote sustainable development and environmentally-friendly construction. Pasadena is located in Los Angeles County, surrounded by the Raymond Fault Line, San Rafael Hills, and San Gabriel Mountains. Home to approximately 148,000 residents, the city is perhaps most famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl college football game. In 2007, Pasadena became involved with other cities in the state (including Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco) to form Green Cities California (GCC). As a member of GCC, the city adopted an Environmental Charter, in which it declared its intent to become a leader in environmental compliance and protection. This ordinance is one way in which Pasadena is attaining that objective.
Pasadena’s code uses the United States Green Building Council’s LEED rating system for setting standards for development. The ordinance applies to several categories of buildings: city buildings over 50,000 square feet in floor area; nonresidential buildings and tenant improvements over 25,000 square feet in area; and multi-family residential projects over four stories in height. Developers building any of these structures must retain a LEED accredited professional for the project and submit a LEED checklist outlining the criteria the project aims to meet. Some buildings are only required to meet the minimum LEED “Certified” level, while others must achieve a Silver rating (such as all city buildings and nonresidential projects over 50,000 square feet in area). The green building compliance official reviews each project’s LEED checklist and makes inspections throughout the construction process to verify compliance with the checklist. There is a final inspection prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. If the project is not meeting the standards of its checklist, the official can issue a stop-work order for either a portion of or the entire project. However, the official also has discretion to determine that a developer has made a good faith effort under the circumstances to meet LEED requirements and allow construction to continue with alternative sustainable objectives.