Santa Clara County Adds Electric Requirement for New Buildings - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions  -  December 10, 2021

Santa Clara County Adds Electric Requirement for New Buildings

A new ordinance in Santa Clara County in California requires that new buildings in unincorporated parts will be required to install all-electric appliances and heating systems, as well as include infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.

The ordinance, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors, specifies all new construction will be required to use electricity and not natural gas for water heating, space heating, cooking, and other applications. New dwellings are also required to have wiring installed that will facilitate the installation of battery storage for additional resiliency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability.

High-rise residential, non-residential, and hotel/motel buildings will also be required to have a solar panel system installed.

 “This is clearly in line with our Climate Action Plan and will help us reach our goal to achieve 100% carbon neutrality by 2045,” said Supervisor Otto Lee in a statement. “I’m also excited to see that this ordinance includes EV infrastructure standards for new construction – with electric vehicles gaining popularity, we must keep up with the infrastructure needed to stay on target for our climate change goals.”

“One of the most cost effective and low-risk ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions is through electrification of buildings coupled with encouraging the use of electric vehicles,” said Jasneet Sharma, director of the Office of Sustainability for the County of Santa Clara. “That means improved indoor air quality and safety for our residents, fewer gas-burning vehicles on our roadways, and less pollutants in the atmosphere.”

The ordinance modifies the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code and the 2019 California Energy Code, which allow cities and counties to adopt local energy amendments. Known as “Reach Codes,” these ordinances go beyond state minimum requirements to encourage electrification of buildings. Nearly all incorporated areas of Santa Clara County have adopted such codes.

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