Simi Valley’s Voluntary Green Building Policy


In November 2012, Simi Valley adopted a Voluntary Green Building Policy, developed with support from its local government partnership (LGP) with Southern California Edison. The policy is available here, and the Executive Summary, with background on Simi Valley’s commitment to efficiency and conservation, and the benefits of a green building policy, is provided below.

The City of Simi Valley has long been a champion of energy efficiency. By demonstrating a continuing commitment to reduce energy use in its own facilities, the City is leading by example in the community. In 2009, the City adopted Ventura County’s first Green Building Ordinance (GBO) for new construction and substantial remodels. The focus of the GBO was on energy efficiency, water conservation, and recycling of construction and demolition waste. The energy efficiency portion of the GBO is called a “Reach Code” because it requires that new construction achieve energy efficiencies above the Title 24, Part 6 (California Energy Code) minimum requirements.

The City has had good success with implementation of the GBO and the Reach Code for new construction, especially as building materials and appliance efficiencies have improved. However, the majority of buildings in the City were built before these requirements were put into place. Improvements and smaller remodels of these existing buildings (built between 1950 and 1990) do not trigger the GBO requirements, and any mandatory requirements to retrofit these buildings to meet current and future Title 24, Part 6 standards is likely to discourage the public from obtaining building permits for any improvements.

This Voluntary Green Building Policy will address this gap by providing resources and technology support to encourage the owners of existing buildings to incorporate energy efficiency into their homes and businesses when they are remodeling their property. This policy is designed to encourage obtaining building permits for simple retrofits of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, appliance replacements, window and roofing replacements, and to suggest options for materials and simple additional steps that could be taken to dramatically improve the savings and comfort levels for building owners and occupants. Available incentives and rebates for energy efficiency measures will be offered during the design or permitting process. This will contribute to reductions in the overall energy use of the community.

To achieve this goal, the Simi Valley Voluntary Green Building Policy expresses the City of Simi Valley’s commitment to the following five objectives:

  1. To establish City-sponsored technical assistance and resources, which property owners can use to save money and energy through energy efficiency retrofits.
  2. To establish a City-sponsored plan of outreach to property owners.
  3. To establish a plan to educate and assist the success of the local contractor community by partnering with local contractors and contractors’ associations to provide training and credentials in green building and energy efficiency.
  4. To establish a plan for the continuing education of City staff members so that they, by means of their expertise in energy efficiency and code compliance, may serve, assist, and empower the Simi Valley community to save money and resources through energy efficiency retrofits.
  5. To establish a process whereby knowledge gained through Simi Valley’s energy efficiency programs for public-sector buildings is brought to the private sector.

The City of Simi Valley will encourage the widespread implementation of energy efficiency retrofits in existing buildings and homes, and influence the behavior of private citizens by helping them understand the benefits of making green retrofits to their existing buildings. The Voluntary Green Building Policy describes the specific steps that the City will take to accomplish these goals. To inform and empower the community and implement the policy, the City will:

  1. Establish a Voluntary Green Building Program intended to aid businesses and homeowners in evaluating, selecting, and implementing energy efficiency retrofits in existing homes and commercial buildings.
  2. Support local contractors to ensure that they have the tools they need to help promote Simi Valley’s goals.
  3. Enhance its existing website, participate in community events to educate the public, and provide technical support and service to the community in evaluating cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.

Implementation of this policy will support energy savings goals in the Green Community Action Plan and Climate Action Plan. These goals include a lower per capita residential and business energy use than the regional average through providing programs to assist residents and businesses with energy efficiency retrofits, and a 15% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

To read more, visit Simi Valley’s Green Building Policy.

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