Build Greener in Your Community
- For no additional cost to building owners, communities can encourage construction of new buildings that are safer, healthier, and emissions-free.
- Adopting amendments to the state energy code will encourage new construction of buildings utilizing electricity rather than natural gas for space and water heating.
- Acting immediately means we will be building more clean buildings now – versus new buildings that will pollute our environment for decades to come.
Why We Need to Act
- Most local homes and businesses now utilize electricity that is carbon-free, from wind, solar, and hydro sources – reducing area-wide GHG emissions by 16+% since 2015
- However, most homes and businesses still use natural gas for space and water heating – resulting in one-third of all GHG emissions in our area – and most vehicles still use gasoline or diesel, accounting for nearly half of all GHG emissions
- For a healthier environment and to combat climate change, California and our local communities have prioritized ongoing reduction of GHG emissions – targeting reductions of 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050
- New buildings that utilize natural gas versus clean electricity will generate additional GHG emissions for decades – counter to local climate action goals
- Given a carbon-free power supply, buildings and vehicles that run on clean electricity rather than fossil fuels reduce emissions to nearly zero
- The most cost-effective time to address building electrification and vehicle charging is when new buildings are being constructed, rather than paying more later to retrofit
- Construction and operating costs for new all-electric buildings are typically less than ‘mixed fuel’ buildings – those that use both electricity and natural gas
Improved Air Quality
If we stop burning fossil fuels for transportation and buildings, we will reduce pollutants that cause smog and poor air quality.
Not running gas infrastructure to new buildings saves thousands for new homes, and even more for larger buildings. Also, making new buildings EV ready saves on future retrofit costs.
Better Public Health
Avoiding the use of natural gas prevents the release of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide which can be toxic to people and pets. Electric vehicles do not contribute to air pollution that is known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health issues related to gas-powered transportation emissions.
Videos to Learn More
Communities are Evaluating Reach Code Options
Building Reach Code Options (from the chart above) – a summary of the Residential requirements
1 = All-Electric inside the building; May still have gas for outdoor applications, unless otherwise restricted
2 = High Reach (electric + natural gas inside); If allowing this option, it is typical paired with one or more of the following:
a) pre-wiring for future electric appliances when installing a natural gas appliance (+ ~$1500),
b) an increase in energy efficiency requirements (+ ~$1500), and/or
c) an energy resource, like solar thermal or battery storage (+ ~ $7500).
2A = Mostly Electric (electric, except for gas cooking and/or gas drying); If allowing this option, it is typically paired with the following:
Pre-wiring at the stove and dryer for future electric appliance (+ ~$500)
EV Charging Code Options – because this is quite intricate, we are summarizing only whether the proposed local amendment is less than, equal to, or greater than the drafted code language provided by SVCE.
- Who is leading this effort? Silicon Valley Clean Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability are partnering with local jurisdictions across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to lower carbon emissions.
- When will the new codes be adopted? Every three years, the California Energy Commission provides new building energy codes for adoption by cities and counties. All new building codes must be approved by the governing city council or board of supervisors prior to implementation. The upcoming code will be voted upon in 2019, prior to implementation in January 2020.
- Does this ban natural gas? Amending the energy code still allows for developers to use mixed-fuel, both electric and gas. Communities are moving away from an efficiency paradigm and toward an emissions paradigm. Developing all-electric is the lowest-cost option – as well as the being safer, healthier, and emissions-free.
- E3; Residential Building Electrification in California
- California Air Resources Board; Combustion Pollutants in Your Home
- US EPA; Smog, Soot, and Other Air Pollution from Transportation
- Building Decarbonization Coalition; Presentation to SVCE Board