California Green Building Code (CALGreen) – Fireplaces

California Green Building Code (CALGreen) – Fireplaces

Fireplaces raises smoke, this contaminated air should not be mixed with indoor air. This California Green Building Code focuses on the preventive measures to protect the indoor air quality by assuring the contaminated air and any unused fuel, to not leak through the fireplaces.

CALGreen Code Section 5.503.1: Fireplaces. 

Install only a direct-vent sealed-combustion gas or sealed wood-burning fireplace, or a sealed woodstove or pellet stove, and refer to residential requirements in the California Energy Code, Title 24, Part 6, Subchapter 7, Section 150. Woodstoves, pellet stoves and fireplaces shall comply with applicable local ordinances.

CALGreen Code Section 5.503.1.1: Woodstoves. 

Woodstoves and pellet stoves shall comply with U.S. EPA New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) emission limits as applicable and shall have a permanent label indicating they are certified to meet the emission limits.


Although limited in use in nonresidential applications, this code requirement is intended to prevent the use of indoor air for combustion and to prevent contaminated air and any unused fuel from escaping a fireplace, maintaining indoor air quality. There may be a local or regional ordinance in place.

Compliance Method:

1. Specify a direct-vent gas fireplace.

2. Specify a pellet or wood stove that meets the US EPA New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) emission standards with emissions limit label.

3. Comply with local or regional ordinance.


Contractor: Retain product data sheets for on-site verification by the enforcing agency and for the operation and maintenance manual.


Plan intake: The plan reviewer should confirm in the construction documents that fireplaces and/or woodstoves meet the direct-vent sealed-combustion requirements and/or US EPA NSPS emission limits. If a local ordinance is in place, verify that those more restrictive requirements are being addressed in the construction documents.

On-site enforcement: The inspector should verify that fireplaces/woodstoves are installed in accordance with the construction documents and product data sheets.

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

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