Congratulations to the City of Santa Monica for achieving Platinum certification under the LEED for Cities program. LEED was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the world’s most widely used green building rating system. With LEED for Cities, local governments like Santa Monica are demonstrating leadership and accountability through certification at the city scale.
The City of Santa Monica achieved LEED Platinum certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and the standard of living for Santa Monica residents. The community’s robust reach code package was a significant contributing factor to achieving this certification.
“For more than 25 years we have been using the power of community to enhance our resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and human health, and benefit the social and economic well-being of the community for the sake of current and future generations,” said Shannon Parry, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “This recognition is an acknowledgement of those efforts and an invitation to celebrate our successes. It is also an opportunity to look forward and identify new places to lead and to make positive change with and for our community.”
Santa Monica is the first city to achieve Platinum level certification in LEED for Cities Version 4.1 by achieving more than 80 points for its activities in the following categories:
For more information on Santa Monica’s LEED Certification, read the City's announcement. For more information on Santa Monica's reach codes, check out the Santa Monica Embraces Water Neutrality Goals Frontrunner and the City of Santa Monica Enriches its Sustainability Programs with Ambitious 2019 Reach Code Package Frontrunner.
May 3: Statewide Reach Codes Team webinar: Results & Findings: Single Family New Construction Cost-Effectiveness Study
May 11: Statewide Reach Codes Team webinar: Draft Results: Nonresidential New Construction Cost-Effectiveness Study
May 11: Energy Commission Monthly Business Meeting
May 11: BayREN Training: Residential Alterations
May 12: New Buildings Institute Webinar: Tuning Buildings for Tomorrow’s Electric Grid: Building-side Perspectives on Building-Grid Optimization in California
May 17 & 19: 3C-REN Training: The Role of Building Science in High Performance Buildings
May 20-21: USGBC-LA Chapter: My Green Building Conference & Expo (MyGBCE)
This column is a monthly feature focusing on specific topics of interest to newcomers to the reach code development community.
Once a city or county decides it wants to explore development and adoption of a reach code, what’s next? There is a wide range of options and approaches local staff can take, each with specific variables that might vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It’s important to recognize that the reach code approach must reflect the unique characteristics of that community, because no two communities are alike.
Often, a community will begin the discovery process by identifying what type of measure it wants to develop. Will it be an amendment to the building standards, requiring the jurisdiction to meet certain state-mandated conditions or a measure emanating from the jurisdiction’s police powers to protect and preserve the health and safety of its citizens (see the December 2021 issue for more information)? Each of these approaches may offer various advantages and disadvantages to the community. For instance, pursuing an ordinance linked to the statewide Building Energy Efficiency Standards requires a cost-effectiveness analysis and approval from the Energy Commission while the latter approach does not. The latter, however, may generate strong political sentiment among community stakeholders that can detract from consensus building and compliance efforts. Because each community is unique, this discovery process is key to identifying what approach will best fit the jurisdiction.
Alternatively, a community may prefer to begin by identifying what types of buildings it wants to address. Will it be new construction of all types or perhaps existing buildings? Will it focus on residential or nonresidential construction? Some important factors to consider in this decision might be the makeup of buildings in the community. Is it a city with predominantly existing single family homes or does it include a substantial amount of new multifamily or nonresidential new construction? If the former, perhaps a beneficial approach might be to develop a policy focusing on retrofit opportunities. If the latter, a robust package of efficiency and electrification measures may be preferred.
Another important consideration is the nature of the jurisdiction and what communities around the subject jurisdiction are exploring. A county, for instance, may prefer to closely align efforts with the cities and towns within the county to simplify education and compliance efforts for stakeholders. Communities who share energy providers, whether these are investor-owned utilities or CCAs, may want to harmonize reach code development efforts to leverage incentive programs being offered by energy providers as well as share technical or educational resources.
The sheer range of options can seem overwhelming! As part of the Reach Codes Newcomers Webinar Series, developed in collaboration by the statewide reach codes program, BayREN and California Climate and Energy Collaborative, session 4, scheduled for April 26, will focus on this topic. With featured speakers Amy Rider, Director of Policy Acceleration and Lawrence Garber, Program Associate, of Building Decarbonization Coalition, the session will explore some specific scenarios.
With regard to building standards amendments vs. municipal code amendments or bans, the session will examine some of the legal, political and technical consideration that are important. The panel will also review recent trends in reach code development, as well as potential impacts or influences from other related efforts. For instance, how might the emerging 2025 code cycle updates influence thinking about reach code approaches? Specific rulemaking efforts, such as BAAQMD Rules governing residential and commercial gas space and water heating equipment, may impact how local staff assess reach code options. The webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 from 10:00-11:30 am, is free of charge. Register here!
Gina Rodda (pictured above, left) is the Owner of Gabel Energy and has been in the energy modeling field since 1991. Gina is the instructor of several dozen full day Energy Code Ace trainings on the Residential and Nonresidential Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for building department staff, energy consultants, engineers, and architects. She is also a Title 24 energy analyst performing a wide range of responsibilities in both residential and non-residential construction pertaining to compliance standards and energy modeling and is a respected subject matter expert informing the statewide code development process.
Jill Marver (pictured above, right) is a Principal Program Manager who leads the Statewide Codes and Standards Team’s compliance improvement efforts. Jill has enjoyed working at PG&E for over 30 years supporting and managing multiple energy efficiency programs. Over the past ten years, Jill and her colleagues at Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric have launched a robust curriculum, tools and Energy Code Ace website intended to help the building and appliance industries simplify implementation of the State’s stringent energy standards. Jill is a University of the Pacific graduate with degrees in English and Communication.
Q: Tell us a little about Energy Code Ace and what it offers to the reach code community.
Gina: That’s a tall order! Energy Code Ace is really a comprehensive resource for information on statewide building efficiency standards. It encompasses in-person and virtual training, reference materials, checklists, trigger lists, interactive compliance tools, just about everything you can imagine to help a professional understand and comply with statewide standards.
Jill: The program really aims to advance the adoption and effective implementation of energy efficiency measures and building practices to lock in long-term energy savings. We all understand that adoption represents only the end of one chapter in the lifecycle of an energy efficiency measure, as the codes only have an impact if people comply with them.
Q: Can you give us some specific examples of tools and resources you think are especially valuable to local staff?
Gina: I think the Reference Ace is really timely right now. This online tool helps users navigate the Title 24, Part 6 Energy Code and Title 20 Standards documents. Features like “pop-up“ definitions of defined terms, key word search capabilities and hyperlinks allows users to jump directly to the specific sections of interest. It’s invaluable in helping local staff understand how the baseline standards have changed.
Jill: I have a hard time picking just one! Echoing Gina’s emphasis on helping professionals understand what is changing, I’d highly recommend the new Fact Sheets: What’s Changed for 2022. There are specific documents for Multifamily, Single Family Residential Buildings, and Nonresidential Buildings. We also have a full suite of trainings on the 2022 Standards, available as on-demand or live online. A lot of folks don’t realize they can request that Energy Code Ace deliver a virtual class to their group using the request training feature on the web site.
Q: Reach codes by definition “reach beyond” the minimum statewide standards, so how can information about compliance with statewide standards help local jurisdictions trying to move beyond them?
Gina: That’s a great question. Let me use heat pump technology as an example. Now, some jurisdictions have incorporated heat pump requirements into reach codes already, but many have not. And starting with the 2022 Standards, which become effective in January 2023, this technology is mandated in many building types. Local staff, regardless of their reach codes, can access a wealth of information related to heat pump technologies. One resource we’re currently developing, for instance, is a series of short videos about this technology. So local staff can use ECA information to educate local stakeholders as well as other jurisdiction staff. Or they can delve deeply into the heat pump resources if they’re exploring a reach code provision that might go beyond the 2022 requirements.
Jill: To add to Gina’s comment, it might be useful to think of Energy Code Ace as a comprehensive, foundational knowledge base and library of resources that undergirds the layer of specific resources focused on reach codes generated by the Reach Codes team. The two programs work collaboratively with a single goal: we’re all here to help local jurisdictions and stakeholders be successful in code implementation and compliance.
Q: What’s the best starting point for a newcomer?
Gina: Take two minutes to watch this video that will highlight all the resources energycodeace.com has to offer, then start exploring!
Jill: Or download this brochure to find out more about our no-cost tools, trainings and resources.
This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E®) and Southern California Edison Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission and in support of the California Energy Commission.
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