CALGreen – Brownfield or Greyfield Site Redevelopment

As city dwellers are growing in numbers around the world, cities are growing outwards to accommodate them. At the same time city existing building stock is getting outdated and available for redevelopment and revitalization. 

Most cites also have sizable empty lots which were previously unfit for construction du to contamination. Once properly cleaned, these sites can be used for new buildings thus reducing the need for development of new infrastructure on virgin land. 

This is an elective CALGreen measure and can be used by remodeling and rebuild projects as well as new construction projects building on previously developed lots. The CALGreen code language is as follows.

CALGreen Code Section A5.103.2: Brownfield or greyfield site redevelopment or in fill area development. 

If feasible, select for a development a brownfield in accordance with Section A5.103.2.1 or on a greyfield or infill site as defined in Section A5.102.

CALGreen Code Section A5.103.2.1: Brownfield redevelopment. 

Develop a site documented as contaminated by means of an ASTM E 1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or on a site defined as a brownfield by a local, state or federal government agency. The site must be fully remediated in accordance with EPA regulations to the level required of the anticipated land use.


The intent of these provisions is to encourage infill, and the use of existing infrastructures, in an effort to both revitalize an existing site with economic growth while minimizing urban blight and sprawl. By reclaiming brownfield (previously unusable locations due to contamination) or greyfield (50 percent covered with impervious materials such as existing parking lots) sites, undeveloped land may be preserved and greenhouse gas emissions limited.

Reference: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and ASTM E 1903-97, Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process, apply to brownfields; local ordinances may also be in place.

Compliance Method:

Prepare documentation regarding remediation of contaminated sites in accordance with ASTM and EPA assessment processes. Confirm zoning requirements and any specific local, state or federal limitations related to brownfield or greyfield project sites with the local enforcement agency.


Verify that remediation has occurred in accordance with appropriate local, state and/or federal requirements for brownfield or greyfield sites.

(Excerpted from ‘Guide to the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code Nonresidential’ – Chapter 5)

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