Smart Build (SB2)

The County of Santa Barbara's (County) green building program was established in 1994 by implementing the County Comprehensive Plan's Energy Element Policy 2.1: Voluntarily Going Beyond State Building Energy Standards. Throughout the years, the program has been amended a number of times to incorporate new energy-efficient strategies and be consistent with Title 24. 


  • Participation in SB2 is available for any project in Santa Barbara County. Participants will receive free advice on energy-efficient strategies and will receive incentives for meeting SB2 energy's efficient criteria. SB2's advice comes from the SB2 committee, which is made up of local professionals including contractors, architects, engineers, energy consultants, and government officials who have been appointed by the County Building Official and who have a remarkable amount of knowledge in innovative, energy-efficient and green developments. The Committee's advice will benefit the design, construction, and operation of the development in a number of ways, including increased marketability, increased comfort, and reduced utility bills.
  • There are two tiers for new and existing development, both of which exceed California's standard building and energy requirements: 
    • Tier 1: Ultra Low Energy Verified
      • Existing and new residential buildings will exceed Title 24 standards by 30% and earn 50 points from the SB2 checklist; or 
      • Existing and new nonresidential buildings will exceed Title 24 standards by 30% and earn 30 points from the SB2 checklist. 
    • Tier 2: Zero Net Energy Design 
      • Documentation and project plans shall demonstrate that, over the course of a year, 100% of the building's energy use will be met using onsite renewable technologies; and 
      • Existing and new residential buildings will exceed Title 24 standards by 40% and receive 70 points from the SB2 checklist; or 
      • Existing and new nonresidential buildings will exceed Title 24 standards by 40% and receive 40 points from the SB2 checklist. 
  • Both tiers must meet CALGreen's mandatory requirements for residential and nonresidential buildings. 
  • The SB2 committee functions on a voluntary basis and provides the following services:  
    • Provide counseling to applicants free of charge during the early stages of design for new and existing development on cost-effective methods to meet Title 24 standards, as well as the SB2 checklist and CALGreen's mandatory requirements. 
    • Review developmental plans of consenting applicants, free of charge, to verify that the proposed design will exceed Title 24 standards by the required percentage.
    • Provide information on innovative building technology and design solutions; public utility rebates; non-profit, state, and federal energy efficiency and green building programs; and information on the health and economic benefits of energy efficient and green building. 
  • Participation in SB2 is not a building or zoning permit application requirement; however, the County encourages applicants to take full advantage of the free services listed above. As further incentive, all development plans that meet one of the two voluntary tiers and CALGreen's mandatory requirements will receive a Santa Barbara County Smart Building Award Certificate. Additional incentives for reaching the two tiers include:
    • Tier 1: 50% reduction in energy plan check fee, expedited Building & Safety Division plan check review process (average 30%-50% time reduction), and use of SB2 logo for marketing.   
    • Tier 2: All Tier 1 incentives and Resolution of Commendation from the County Board of Supervisors
  • The County should evaluate the tiers periodically to consider new innovative strategies for energy efficiency and green building, to be consistent with amended local and state building codes, and to assure equitable application to all program participants. The County should promote the voluntary use of SB2 by providing an informational SB2 brochure with all initial permit applications, and distributing the brochure at the permit zoning counter and at pre-application meetings so that developers, architects, and home-builders may benefit from the free advice, incentives, and energy-savings. The County should keep permanent records of all applications and awarded tier levels.