“Reach” energy codes that lead new construction to be all electric, avoiding new gas connections.
Several years ago Palo Alto and Marin adopted “reach” codes that went beyond the state energy code to incentivize new buildings that used electric space and water heating instead of gas. Now many Bay Area cities are working together to advance this policy for the upcoming state 2020 energy code update. In November 2018, Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) began collaborating on a new program to help new buildings and vehicles go zero carbon with electric power instead of fossil fuels. The “Building Electrification and Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure reach code program” serves all 32 PCE and SVCE member cities to help them update local building codes for all new residential and commercial construction. The reach codes will save thousands of dollars in lower construction costs and future retrofitting that will be required to comply with more stringent emissions rules.
This project will help cities adopt a stronger version of the new California “title 24” energy code that begins in January 2020, to align with more ambitious local climate goals. It will help cities cut their fossil fuel use and carbon emissions, avoid risky investment in stranded gas assets, and will provide code consistency across the region for building developers. The PCE-SVCE program provides full technical support plus $10,000 (for staff time) to all participating cities.
The Campaign plans to
- Monitor progress of PCE-SVCE consultant to ensure that recommendations to cities are as strong as possible (e.g. favoring mandatory requirements or the steepest incentives possible for all electric, fossil free construction).
- Collaborate with PCE, SVCE, and partner organizations to reach out to City Councils, Planning Commissions, staff and key stakeholders.
- Work with San Mateo County and BayRen to create and support regional agency-led trainings and workshops for city permitting staff, developers, and key stakeholders.