Why is the City going beyond what the State is requiring when the new energy code already has a large increase in energy requirements?

Building standards and best practices are always changing and evolving. Buildings used to include lead-based paint and asbestos but no longer due for health reasons. Building codes and regulations in California and other states are quickly evolving and looking toward energy savings and decarbonization. The 2019 Energy Code does increase code requirements from the prior code cycle but there are multiple reasons to go above what the State is requiring.

There is growing public interest and demand for energy efficient and electric buildings and will only increase as California nears deadlines for reducing emissions. People want to live and work in these buildings because they are comfortable, healthy and productive spaces to live and work. Builders and contractors with the expertise for energy efficient and electric buildings can get ahead of training for future compliance with codes and standards. 

By constructing an efficient, all electric building, costs can be reduced by avoiding paying for natural gas infrastructure. Compared to a mixed fuel home, building all-electric home can typically save $6,171 per single family home and $3,361 for multifamily.1 The technologies and design strategies needed to create efficient electric buildings are available today.

[1] 2019 Cost-effectiveness Study: Low-Rise Residential New Construction. July 17, 2019. California Energy Codes and Standards Program.

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1. Why is the City going beyond what the State is requiring when the new energy code already has a large increase in energy requirements?
2. What are the advantages to all-electric buildings?
3. What are the potential drawbacks of an all-electric building?
4. Are all-electric buildings viable today?
5. What happens to electric water heaters and induction cooktops when the power goes out? Isn’t it better to have a gas stove to be able to cook meals and a gas water heater to have hot water?
6. Won’t this add costs and make it more difficult to build housing?
7. How do construction costs compare?
8. How does the life cycle cost compare?
9. Why the focus on new residential construction?
10. How reliable is the electric grid as compared to natural gas pipelines?
11. Will you take my gas stove away?
12. What is this electric induction cooking all about?
13. Can a heat pump water heater match the performance of a gas system?
14. Will the heat pump water heater need to be supplemented by electric resistance?
15. Doesn’t electricity produce emissions as well? What will these buildings run on when the sun goes down?
16. What about adding more electricity to the grid?
17. Does this affect smart meter opt out?
18. Is it harder to sell an all-electric house?