Marin County is made up of twelve jurisdictions (including the unincorporated area), all with populations below 100,000 and most with fewer than 15,000. “Because each jurisdiction is small, collaboration allows Marin’s local governments to have a larger impact than we would have acting individually,” says Alice Zanmiller, Marin County Planner, “and alignment of policies and messaging around reach codes really supports implementation.” County staff participate in the Marin Climate Energy Partnership monthly as well as other regional organizations including The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), a collaboration of the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area.
In developing the reach code update, the County led a process that included building department and sustainability staff from multiple Marin County jurisdictions, each weighing in on potential opportunities to exceed the state’s standards. Mill Valley also adopted the standards in 2019, and more jurisdictions are considering the standards in 2020. County staff are supporting adoption in other jurisdictions in an effort to increase consistency. As Zanmiller notes, “we believe this close collaboration meets the requests from our stakeholders and has been successful, as several jurisdictions regionally are following similar frameworks in their efforts to adopt and implement reach codes.”
In evaluating what specific provisions to include, Zanmiller reflected, “We recognized that flexibility is vitally important; for instance, gas cooktops and gas fireplaces are highly desirable by some of our residents and builders. These end uses are relatively small gas consumers compared with gas space or water heating appliances so we created flexible options to enable applicants to comply while still achieving the County’s GHG reduction goals.”
The package of reach codes adopted by the County in October 2019 and approved by the California Energy Commission in December 2019 includes energy efficiency and electric vehicles as show on the right.