Green and sustainable building requirements

Menlo Park is committed to green and sustainable development. Buildings are among the greatest users of energy and water, and producers of fossil fuel emissions and material waste nationally. Development is therefore one of the greatest opportunities to reduce water and energy usage, carbon emissions and facilitate waste diversion. Green building practices create more efficient buildings that use fewer resources, divert more waste, and help to create enjoyable spaces for occupants. The City is developing the webpages below to provide more information about requirements related to green building.

Electric vehicle chargers

Electric vehicles (EVs) provide an alternative to vehicles that use fossil fuels, however they require charging infrastructure to effectively get people where they need to go. To support current and future EV drivers, the City of Menlo Park adopted EV charging space requirements. Please visit the EV charger page to learn more about the City’s EV charging space requirements. 

Energy reporting

Benchmarking compares buildings that report energy and water usage to other buildings with similar characteristics. The practice also allows for the future use of that data to inform decisions about which energy-saving measures are most effective. Nationally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the Energy Star Building Portfolio Manager as a tool for building owners to use to review their energy usage, and anonymously provide data to inform future regulatory decisions. The City of Menlo Park requires buildings within the Bayfront Area be enrolled in the program. Please see the Energy reporting requirements page for more information.

Leadership in energy and environmental design

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was developed by the US as a green building certification program, "to optimize use of natural resources, promote regenerative and restorative strategies, maximize the positive and minimize the negative environmental and human health impacts of the building industry while providing high quality indoor environments for building occupants." Information about LEED requirements and the alternative LEED Performance Program are available through the City's LEED webpage.

Reach codes

Every three years, cities and counties across the state adopt the new Building Standards Code (Standards) or Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. Cities and counties may adopt building codes more advanced than those required by the state, which are known as reach codes.

Zero waste management plan

Waste diversion is a way to reduce the amount of recyclable, compostable, and otherwise reusable materials going to landfills or incinerators. To aid in this effort, the City has adopted requirements in the Bayfront Area that applicants provide zero waste management plans (ZWMP). The ZWMP illustrate how project teams will reduce, recycle and compost wastes from the demolition, construction and occupancy phases of the building. Staff is working to complete the ZWMP page to provide information about these requirements. This page is coming soon!

Water efficiency and resiliency

The efficient use of water within buildings is critical to preserve that resource. Dual plumbing systems for reuse, as well as limitations on single-pass cooling systems and the types of fixtures that are installed all offer opportunities to limit water usage, and ultimately water waste. Water budgets are prepared by project applicants for buildings at the time of construction to illustrate the anticipated usage. The City has adopted water efficiency and budget requirements for projects within the Bayfront Area to ensure responsible development. Staff is working to complete a page explaining requirements related to water efficiency and sea-level rise resiliency. This page is coming soon!

Bird-friendly design

Menlo Park is fortunate to be home to a diverse range of wildlife. In areas adjacent to protected habitat, the City has adopted bird-friendly design standards to limit potential harm to birds from striking buildings. Staff is working to complete the bird-friendly design page to provide resources and information about requirements related to bird-friendly design. This page is coming soon!