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What are the Legal Requirements for Energy Reach Codes?
Like other local laws, energy reach codes cannot conflict with state or federal requirements (federal preemption). Additionally, reach codes that amend the energy code have several requirements that must be met: 1. A reach code must be at least as stringent as the statewide code. 2. A reach code must be cost effective. 3. A reach code must be approved by the California Energy Commission. 4. A reach code needs to be re-approved with each Energy Code update.
What is a Reach Code?
A reach code is a local amendment to the CA Building Code. In California, local governments have the authority to adopt amendments to the California Building Standards Code, commonly known as “Title 24” of the CA code of Regulations. These local amendments are often referred to as reach codes because they require performance that exceeds that of the minimum state code. There are two categories of reach codes: • Prescriptive Codes: Require one or more specific energy efficiency or renewable energy measures • Performance Codes: Require buildings perform more efficiently than Title 24, Part 6 Energy Standards, allowing applicants flexibility in project designs
What is the Process for Adopting a Reach Code?
Every jurisdiction will have its own approach to developing a reach code. The process of developing and adopting a reach code will generally include the same steps: 1. engaging the local community/ stakeholders/ building officials 2. obtaining a cost-effectiveness study 3. submitting reach code for city council review/vote 4. submitting adopted reach code for CEC approval and filing with BSC
What Kind of Reach Codes Are There?
There are many types of reach codes implemented throughout the state. Reach codes affecting building energy efficiencies remain the most common of those adopted presently and in the past. Additionally, some local governments may consider codes which require measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or make such reductions possible but are not specifically addressing energy efficiency. These reach codes include: • Electric vehicle readiness (EV-Ready or EV-Capable) • Electric pre-wiring or panel requirements • Indoor/Outdoor water efficiency requirements or water distribution • Energy audits or benchmarking • Process loads (commercial kitchens, elevators, escalators, etc.)
When Are Reach Codes Passed?
It is most efficient for cities to coordinate the adoption of reach codes with that of the triennial Building Standards Code cycle, taking effect as the new statewide standards begin (January 1st), but reach codes can be adopted at any time.
Why Adopt a Reach Code?
The higher standards required by reach codes can have many immediate as well as compounding future benefits. Reach codes can be a valuable tool for local government to fulfill a Climate Action Plan, Energy Plan, or other policy goals. Requiring new development to meet higher standards for energy efficiency can increase savings of both energy and money in addition to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions