October 2020

Reach Code News Brief: October 2020

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The statewide reach codes team is currently evaluating priorities for upcoming research projects, and looking carefully at candidate measures among several proposed code changes  being considered for the 2022 California Energy Code. This approach offers several benefits: some technical analytical work is already complete and little or no incremental enforcement activities would be required at the local level.

Leveraging that work, the statewide team could  prepare model reach code language and supporting implementation materials for local government use prior to the effective date of the Energy Code (January 2023) and offer substantial resources to local governments in adoption of these provisions irrespective of the ultimate Title 24, Part 6 disposition.

The team is eager for feedback from local staff and technical specialists via a survey available through the end of October. The survey offers an overview of the candidate provisions as well as links to the final CASE reports submitted to the Energy Commission.

Interested individuals may also download the At-a-Glance document here and complete the 10-minute survey here.

Upcoming Events


November 4: SEEC Virtual Forum - Webinar 17: Mapping Energy Efficiency, Climate Planning, and Regional Partnerships

November 10: Energy Commission Business Meeting.

November 10-12: Greenbuild Virtual International Conference & Expo.

November 12: SEEC Virtual Forum - Webinar 18: One Vision, Many Policy Paths to Local Decarbonization

November 19: BayREN Training: Heat Pump Water Heaters

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New This Month!

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Q&A WITH Eric Engelman: Introducing the New Cost-Effectiveness Explorer

Eric Engelman has a master's degree in public policy from University of California-San Diego. After working as a development economist internationally, he returned to San Diego to specialize in local government energy policy. Over the last decade, Eric served as Senior Energy Policy Adviser to the City of San Diego and consulted with local governments to help them accelerate energy policy adoption. Building software to simplify data-driven energy policy making is a dream come true.

Q: Tell us a little about this new tool, Eric.

A: First of all, we have these incredible resources in the cost-effectiveness studies. There are more published studies today than at any time over the past 10 years. This wealth of riches still presents a challenge to local government staff, though, who often have too many responsibilities and too little time to mine these resources for good policy recommendations.

The Explorer mines the studies and presents findings most relevant for each user in a straightforward, accessible way.

Q: How does the Explorer work?

A: A user inputs their city or county and selects the cost effectiveness studies whose results they’d like to view. For example, a planner in San Bernardino County might be asked by the County Supervisors to recommend some options for reducing emissions from buildings. They can use the tool to instantly identify the County’s climate zones (8, 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16) as well as begin to assess what cost-effective options are available for existing residential, new residential, and new nonresidential buildings.

All the findings from three separate studies will appear in a single view, that includes the cost-effective measures and packages, with their incremental cost, annual bill savings, benefit to cost ratios, and annual emissions savings per building.

It’s easy to share specific results with colleagues, either by exporting to a customized pdf or sharing a link.

Q: Do users need to have a lot of technical expertise to understand the data?

A: There is a lot of embedded assistance for all levels of expertise. We designed the tool to encourage learning. Any unfamiliar terms or items can be clicked to access a simple definition and additional background information. There’s also a quick guide to explain cost-effectiveness and why it matters, as well as a tutorial on how to use the Explorer.

Q: What’s in the future for the Explorer?

A: We are adding functionality over the coming months, going beyond results on per building basis to forecasting the potential impact of a reach code city-wide or county-wide. We are also adding support for additional statewide cost-effectiveness studies. And users will be able to customize measure combinations of existing building measures for each vintage and climate zone. Beyond that, we are working to provide the ability to compare potential policies and their impacts in a menu-like interface so jurisdictions can better weigh trade-offs in their policy decisions.

Visit the Cost Effectiveness Explorer today!

Reach Code Primer cover page

New Reach Code Primer Available

This newly-available Primer offers a timely resource to local jurisdictions and stakeholders about the reach code process. Many jurisdictions are evaluating and adopting reach codes as one approach for achieving Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals.

While the state of California does not mandate CAPs,  many local government agencies have adopted them as a means of complying with state requirements for general plan updates, and to achieve important climate goals at the local level.

More and more local governments are adopting reach codes to implement these plans. For instance, less than five percent of local governments adopted a reach code during the 2016-2019 building code cycle, while the number expected to do so during the 2019-2021 cycle may double or triple.

Because reach code development and adoption requires a significant amount of local government staff time, specialized knowledge and technical expertise, external resources can provide beneficial assistance throughout the process.

This primer provides stakeholders and experts alike with a better understanding of the adoption process and particular challenges the reach code adoption can present for local governments.

The primer first offers an overview of pre-requisite concepts, such as:

  • Reach Code Fundamentals
  • Local Government Fundamentals
  • Climate Action Plan Fundamentals

The second part of this document dives deep into the process local governments go through when adopting a reach code. After a discussion of the impetus for reach codes, the primer breaks down the process into twelve stages. After explaining each stage, common challenges and resource needs are identified, and opportunities for assistance are enumerated.

The Primer is available free of charge here.

City of Burlingame

City of Burlingame Reach Code Package Approved

The reach code package submitted by the City of Burlingame was approved by the Energy Commission at its monthly Business Meeting October 12, 2020.

The ordinances include all-electric requirements for new construction of single-family, multi-family, and nonresidential buildings.

Newly constructed single family homes, including additions and improvements where more than 50 percent of the valuation of the property is remodeled, and provided the remodel includes a new heating, cooling, and ventilation system, shall be all-electric, with possible exceptions for cooking appliances, and fireplaces. Pre-wiring for electric equipment and appliances is required if gas-fired equipment and appliances are installed.

In newly constructed multi-family construction all-electric is also required, with exceptions for gas-fired equipment if necessary. In those cases, pre-wiring for electric equipment and appliances is required In addition, photovoltaic or solar thermal hot water systems are required.

The non-residential provision requires all-electric in new construction, with exceptions for non-electric cooking appliances in public or commercial kitchens. In those cases, pre-wiring for electric equipment and appliances is required. In addition, photovoltaic or thermal hot water systems are required.

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

Photo credit: Javelinca - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56359927

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Other Reach Code News Briefs

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  • Southern California Edison - An EDISON INTERNATIONAL® Company
  • PG&E Corporation

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