August 2020

Reach Code News Brief: August 2020

Two New Reach Codes Approved this month

Cities of Davis and San Luis Obispo

Reach codes submitted by the City of Davis and City of San Luis Obispo were approved by the Energy Commission at its monthly Business Meeting August 12, 2020.

The City of Davis code focused on new nonresidential and high-rise residential buildings, with a ten percent compliance margin for energy efficiency performance requirements and installation of photovoltaic systems. The City of San Luis Obispo code package allows two compliance pathways (all-electric or mixed fuel) for new construction; mandates pre-wiring for future electric appliances at gas appliance locations; and photovoltaic system installations on nonresidential buildings.

Visitors can browse our website for detailed information about adopted reach codes throughout the state (map view or the adopted ordinances list).

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New This Month!

Amy Rider headshot


Amy Rider is the Principal Consultant for Archamy Consulting who is acting as the Local Government Lead for the Building Decarbonization Coalition. She has held positions with local government agencies and consulting firms for more than 15 years, working to optimize local climate change response through education, behavior change and technology implementation.

Q: We understand the Clean Building Compass is brand new, Amy. Can you tell us a little about why it was created?

A: Yes! The Building Decarbonization Coalition (BDC), along with the Bay Area Air Quality Management Districtand the Bay Area Regional Collaborative, launched the Clean Building Compass in mid-July and continues to develop it as a comprehensive resource for local jurisdictions—482 cities and 58 counties across California. Cities and counties are encouraged to plan for and implement local actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the State’s climate action and decarbonization goals. The Compass is designed to provide a library of resources to help simplify the work of local government staff in identifying, developing and deploying effective building decarbonization solutions.

Q: What types of information can local government professionals find?

A: The Compass gathers a wide range of materials, including best practice ordinances, staff reports, model language and supporting research, and organizes it in different, easy-to-use categories. For example, a staffer can research specific outcomes, such as resilience, climate mitigation, or equity and drill down to specific items such as low-income solar program information.

Q: What types of resources are available for assisting local jurisdictions with climate action plans and reach codes?

A: While climate action planning is addressed, the Clean Building Compass really focuses on options for implementing those plans.  Users can find a range of introductory information about local reach code options, including example zero emission building codes, as well as more detailed resources such as model language, talking points and policy tools such as ACEEE’s Local Energy Efficiency Policy Calculator.

Q: How can interested stakeholders find out more about the Clean Building Compass?

A: Well, first, visit the Compass and check it out.  We are committed to maintaining and improving the website as a dynamic and ongoing resource, so feedback from stakeholders and users is extremely valuable to us. To request a training session for your local government team, offer feedback or provide additional content suggestions, please email

MGBCE panel

Statewide Program Presents Panel at MGBCE

The Statewide Reach Codes program hosted a panel discussion at the 19th Annual Municipal Green Building Conference & Expo, held virtually on August 21-22, 2020. Held by the Los Angeles chapter of the USGBC,

MGBCE is the longest-running and largest gathering of leading sustainability and green building advocates within both the public and private sectors of Southern California. More than 1,000 attendees participated across two days from local government agencies, the building industry, and the public, all gathering to learn about green building principles, practices, and products. Municipal Green, on August 21, focused on local jurisdiction activities while Community Green, on August 22, focused on community outreach and activities.

The panel discussion, held on August 21,  explored how reach codes can accelerate clean construction to achieve local goals for both green building and climate.  Moderated by Christopher Kuch of Southern California Edison, the session featured Danuta Drozdowicz of the California Energy Commission, Robyn Eason from the City of West Hollywood, and Drew Johnstone from the City of Santa Monica.

The panelists first explored the reach code development process, led by Drozdowicz, as well as insights from both Eason and Johnstone on the specific drivers and variables at their respective jurisdictions. Drozdowicz provided a look at the progress statewide and the variety of reach codes already implemented across California.

The panelists then explored specific city experiences, first through the lens of Santa Monica, which has developed a comprehensive, omnibus-style code package, and then from the perspective of West Hollywood, which implemented a targeted, single-measure code that took advantage of that city's unique built environment. Both Johnstone and Eason shared the details of the respective reach codes, as well as the process the cities experienced and how these reach codes fit within the respective green building and sustainability programs of Santa Monica and West Hollywood.

The panelists then shared information of the range of resources available to support local jurisdictions throughout the reach code development and implementation process, including many of the resources developed by the statewide program.

A robust Q & A session concluded the session. For interested individuals who were unable to attend, contact the reach codes team for more information.

2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards landing page

Identifying Reach Code Priorities for 2022 Code Cycle

As fall 2020 approaches and development of the 2022 Building Energy Code intensifies, the Codes and Standards program has published reports documenting the energy savings and GHG reduction potential for several measures being considered for inclusion in the 2022 Energy Code.  The reach code team is actively researching the studies and has identified several potential reach code measures.  These measures are distinct requirements that apply to specific occupancies or end-use systems, and either require minimal or no change to the compliance documentation and process. The team is seeking city and county staff input to help prioritize the measures of most interest that may be good candidates for a potential reach code.  Establishing local priorities early helps the team focus on delivering the most valuable resources as quickly as possible to local jurisdictions examining potential measures throughout 2021 and beyond. Building Code in 1972, which eventually was the basis for California’s Title 24 requirements and Energy Code.

The City sustainability staff focused on developing and implementing its current package of reach codesto extend these codes beyond the statewide 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards and help the City achieve aggressive new goals. In March 2019, the City Council approved a Resolution declaring a climate emergency and proposed mobilization efforts to restore a safe climate that included an acceleration of the carbon neutrality goal for the Davis community from 2050 to 2040.

Some of these measures include:

Horticulture:  Improved mandatory lighting efficiency and controls

This package of measures applies to Controlled Environment Horticulture (CEH) facilities, indoor farming operations that tightly control lighting, temperature and humidity levels. The measure focuses on improving the lighting system to save energy and enhance plant growth. The measure proposes a mandatory requirement for minimum photosynthetic photon efficacy as well as requiring time-switch controls and multilevel lighting controls in CEH facilities. For more information on this measure, download the CASE proposal.

For nonresidential and high-rise residential construction, the City adopted a set of provisions focusing on holistic approaches like those found in building rating systems such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) as well as CALGreen (Title 24 Part 11), the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standard (Title 24 Part 6) and the Davis Municipal Code. “By developing a set of measures that essentially requires new construction to achieve this holistic level of compliance, the result is a LEED Gold equivalency,” notes Greg Mahoney, Assistant Director, Community Development & Sustainability.

Nonresidential Refrigeration System Opportunities

There are several measures in this code change proposal that will improve energy performance end reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from refrigeration systems in refrigerated warehouses, retail stores, and commercial kitchens. Requirements for systems in commercial kitchens could apply to a variety of building types including restaurants, schools, and hospitals. Detailed information is available in the CASE Proposal.

Later in 2019, the City team turned its focus to primarily residential construction. Mahoney noted, “for residential construction, we recognized the opportunity to incentivize all-electric homes while still providing a compliance pathway for mixed-fuel use. We did this by requiring no additional provisions for all-electric homes while adding requirements for mixed-fuel construction.”

Outdoor lighting

This proposal includes two submeasures of interest: nonresidential lighting zone reclassification and nonresidential lighting power allowances for general hardscape.

The lighting zone reclassification submeasure would align the California lighting zones with current industry standards employed across North America and reduce energy use throughout California while minimizing sky glow and light trespass. The general hardscape submeasure would update the existing prescriptive requirements for outdoor lighting, and would impact new construction, alterations, and additions across California. For information on this set of measures, download the CASE proposal.

Prioritization Survey Available in September

In all, the statewide Codes and Standards Enhancement (CASE) initiative has developed more than 40 candidate measures to be considered for inclusion in the 2022 State Energy Code. Based on its review of the proposals, the reach code team has identified several potential candidates. The team is developing a survey to poll city and county professionals to assess which measures might be most valuable to develop as potential reach code provisions. The team anticipates the survey will be available in September.

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