The City of Rohnert Park’s “Energy Efficiency Standards” set minimum energy efficiency requirements for all new low-rise residential construction of any size, all low-rise residential additions equal to or greater than one thousand square feet of conditioned floor area, and all residential and nonresidential swimming pools and water features. The standards operate by setting required levels of efficiency that exceed the state-level energy requirements by a certain percentage. The percentages are imposed on a sliding scale, such that increasingly larger residences must meet more stringent energy efficiency requirements.
The Energy Efficiency standards require developers to install Energy Star exhaust fans and apply mastic filler and sealant to all joints and seams of air conditioning ducts. Additionally, the Standards require all natural gas heaters for any public and private swimming pools, spas, fountains, and water features to have a minimum Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 90% or higher. In order to obtain a building permit, a special compliance form must be submitted in addition to already required energy compliance documentation. The form must indicate (1) the building’s standard design energy use (based on requirements in the state code), (2) the applicable adjustment factor (based on building size) as found in the Standards, (3) the revised standard design energy use, and (4) the proposed design energy use. In addition, a final inspection of a building permit will not be approved unless the project has been constructed in accordance with the approved plans, any conditions of approval, and the applicable Energy Efficiency Standards.
Rohnert Park’s Green Building ordinance lays out the procedure through which a developer must participate in order to obtain a building permit for certain types of specified projects. The ordinance states that the City Council shall set forth in a resolution the specific threshold compliance requirements as far as which green building standards are applicable. The compliance standards consist of a three-tier system based on the size of a project, and apply to residential developments, commercial buildings, and city projects. The council has set forth more stringent requirements for the largest-sized projects, such as requiring Tier 3 city projects and new commercial buildings to achieve a LEED Silver registered standard (as opposed to Tier 2 buildings which only need to be “self-certified”). A developer must submit a green building checklist and worksheet with an analysis of each credit/point claimed under the respective rating system for approval, and cannot get a building permit until these documents are approved at two different levels of review. The ordinance allows a developer to apply for exemptions, and also allows the green building compliance official to grant waivers on various requirements if compliance is infeasible. Both the ordinance and the applicable City Council resolutions are included below.