Thirteen Silicon Valley communities take action to ensure pollution-free buildings for new construction
Santa Clara County, Calif. – Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) is recognizing all thirteen of its member communities for taking strong action to reduce emissions in new construction during the 2022 building code cycle. The variety of actions taken by local jurisdictions will have a lasting impact as new homes and buildings are built for a healthier, pollution-free region.
Each jurisdiction adopted “reach codes,” local amendments to the state building code that require varying degrees of electric readiness or all-electric requirements for new construction. Many jurisdictions also adopted an amendment that supports increased accessibility of electric vehicle (EV) charging.
“Transitioning away from methane gas use in homes and buildings is an essential step toward reducing local emissions,” said George Tyson, Los Altos Hills Councilmember and SVCE Board Chair. “SVCE communities are taking a role as leaders in the state by adopting reach codes that fully or partially require all-electric buildings and adding EV charging infrastructure, which will reduce the cost of making these upgrades in the future.”
Building on the movement of nearly 50 cities and counties that adopted reach codes or ordinances during the 2019 code cycle, the California Energy Commission adopted a 2022 Energy Code that advances electrification by encouraging efficient, electric heat pumps, and establishing electric-ready requirements for new homes. The new state code established a baseline that is a big step toward reducing the use of methane gas in buildings. Locally, the communities served by SVCE adopted reach codes that still exceed the new state minimum for electrification, or EV charging readiness.
Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara County passed codes that require new construction to be all-electric with limited exemptions. These seven communities also approved new codes that encourage EV infrastructure in single-family, multi-family, and commercial properties.
Los Altos and Los Altos Hills passed codes that require partial electrification of new construction, allowing methane gas to be used for stoves and fireplaces but still requiring pre-wiring for electric appliances.
Saratoga and Monte Sereno passed similar codes requiring the electrification of new construction with exemptions for cooking and other specific scenarios. Both jurisdictions also passed EV infrastructure requirements.
Gilroy and Morgan Hill adopted new EV infrastructure requirements in new construction. Morgan Hill maintained the all-electric requirements for new construction that was adopted by ordinance in 2019.
As the California grid continues to get cleaner with electricity generated from renewable and carbon-free sources, reducing dependence on fossil fuels in buildings and transportation is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Planning for the future now with all-electric new construction lowers the up-front building costs and avoids exposure to harmful toxins released by methane-gas-powered appliances.
About Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency providing clean electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 Santa Clara County jurisdictions. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is advancing innovative solutions to fight climate change by decarbonizing the grid, transportation, and buildings. Learn more at SVCleanEnergy.org.
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