All Electric Reach Code

On November 19, 2019, the City of Santa Rosa passed a reach code that would require all new residential construction of 3-stories and below in the City have to be all electric.

What is a Reach Code?

Per Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, California cities and counties must adopt new Building Standards Code every three years; however, at any time, those cities and counties may choose to adopt their own local codes that "reach" (or go beyond) those California building standards and requirements.

Reach codes may be prescriptive or performance. Prescriptive codes require one or more specific energy efficiency measures, solar photovoltaic (PV), electric vehicle (EV), or battery storage. Performance Codes require a building to perform more efficiently based on accepted computer modeling and allow trade-offs between energy efficiency measures, solar PV, EV, or battery storage.

Why did Santa Rosa explore a Reach Code?

The City created the Climate Action Subcommittee (CAS), which is charged with providing guidance and oversight of the implementation and update of the City’s Municipal Climate Action Plan and the Community Climate Action Plan with a goal of reducing the local greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience from climate change and its effects.

One avenue to pursue that goals of a climate action plan is the reduction of burning of fossil fuels, including natural gas, in new developments and redevelopment of existing structures. In addition to reducing fossil fuels, all-electric buildings can be safer and healthier to work and are cost effective, especially when designed at the new construction stage. 

Direction was provided by the CAS and then subsequently by the full Council to evaluate an All-Electric Reach code in conjunction with the Building Code update.