City of Cupertino Takes Action to Fight Climate Change

Code amendments require all newly constructed buildings to be fueled only by electricity

Cupertino, Calif. – In a bold move aimed at decreasing local dependence on fossil fuels, the Cupertino City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, to require all newly constructed buildings in Cupertino to be all electric.

The City Council’s decision requires, rather than incentivizes, electric appliances for space and water heating, cooking, and clothes drying, along with a higher level of electric vehicle charging than the State Code requires. The City Council’s vote —known as establishing a “reach code”— ensures healthier, safer, and emissions-free buildings in Cupertino.

“The City Council understands that climate change is real and that local decisions not only affect our community but our world,” Mayor Steven Scharf said. “The decision also brings us closer to reaching our ambitious goals set in our Climate Action Plan, which creates a path toward creating a healthy, livable, and vibrant city.”

These reach codes focus on transitioning new buildings and transportation to clean electricity while moving away from dirty fossil fuels. The codes will result in new buildings that improve air quality and promote public health, while offering economic savings.

“Creating Silicon Valley Clean Energy and decarbonizing our electricity supply was the single biggest step we’ve ever taken locally to fight climate change,” said Rod Sinks, Cupertino Councilmember and SVCE Board Member. “This is the latest big step, which will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings over their long lives.”

On Dec. 17, 2019, during the first public hearing on the topic, the Council voted to add an all-electric requirement for new detached accessory dwelling units, and not allow gas hook-ups for indoor and outdoor fireplaces in new construction. The amendments do allow for an exception process for some commercial kitchens if electricity is not feasible.

In order to meet the State’s carbon reduction goals, cities recognize that more must be done to stop pollution from transportation and buildings. Cupertino is joined by the 11 other SVCE member communities that are evaluating and/or establishing reach codes. Statewide, there are more than 50 communities considering reach codes to address carbon pollution from new construction.

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About Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities, acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.

Media Contacts
Michaela Pippin
Communications Specialist
O: 408-721-5301 x1020
michaela.pippin@svcleanenergy.org

Brian Babcock
City of Cupertino
O: 408-777-3262
brianb@cupertino.org