May 19 2022

Reach Code Results and Changes Plus a Survey

City pursues electrification of houses and multi-family high-rise buildings.

Preliminary ideas from staff include the development of Reach Codes for new high-rise multifamily buildings (four stories or more) and for new non-residential buildings and non-residential alterations, which would apply to offices, stand-alone retail shops, and restaurants. 

Since Ordinance 750 N.S. (Reach Codes) went into effect, several areas arose in which City staff found that the existing Reach Codes may be unclear and may benefit from further specification to ensure the intent of the local code amendments are being met. These include:

• Clarifying whether natural gas or propane plumbing should be allowed to be installed for exterior recreational features and amenities (e.g., outdoor fireplace, heat lamp) at a newly constructed low-rise residential building or new detached ADU that is required to be all electric and would otherwise have no working gas service;

• Clarifying that a project proposing a new ADU or Junior ADU (JADU) fixated to or located within an existing detached accessory structure (i.e., garage, carport) must be built allelectric;

• Specifying that a kitchen or laundry room renovation project is required to not only include electrical outlets for future appliance services, but also include an energy efficiency insulation or electrification improvement; and

• Specifying that low flow water fixtures selected as energy efficiency improvement are required to be installed in all areas of the low-rise residential building not just the area of renovation.

2022 Energy Code and Future Considerations:

The 2022 Energy Code revises energy efficiency standards for newly constructed buildings, as well as additions and alterations to existing buildings. The Code builds on California’s technology innovations, encouraging inclusion of market-ready electric products in new construction, such as heat pumps for climate control and water heating. The Code also requires all new homes to be electric-ready. These updates and improvements and crucial steps in the state’s progress toward 100% clean electricity and carbon neutrality by 2045, or earlier.

READ the complete staff report and Reach Code results linked below:

reach code results 522020

In February 2021, the City Council adopted reach codes that require energy efficiency measures to be included in new construction and existing building renovations. Reach codes are local amendments that go above and beyond existing California building codes (Title 24) to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The primary goal of the reach codes is to help Piedmont meet its Climate Action Plan 2.0 emission reduction goals by reducing natural gas use and increasing energy efficiency in buildings. Title 24 receives updates every three years to incorporate the latest changes in construction and technology. The latest update (2019 Energy Code) went into effect on January 1, 2020. Starting January 1, 2023, the 2022 Energy Code will go into effect. When the Energy Code is updated, the City will also need to adopt any local amendments to the Code, including readoption of the reach codes.
To help inform the development of the next iteration of reach codes, City staff request all those who live and work in Piedmont to participate in an online survey to provide feedback about the current reach codes and suggestions for the next round. The survey is live and will be open until May 20, 2022.

All those who complete the online survey will be entered into a raffle to receive a sustainability prize. > Take the Community Survey

Learn more about Piedmont’s Reach Codes


One Response to “Reach Code Results and Changes Plus a Survey”

  1. Most of these proposals are minor but do need to be put in place. Piedmont’s natural gas usage increased 19% through 2019. Most of that is from the residential sector so renovations/remodels is the way Piedmont will reverse that trend. Unless cities like Piedmont reverse that trend, natural gas bans are sure to follow.

    The ADU clarification is very significant. The Housing Element is proposing to raise the limit for garage ADUs to 24 feet which could lead to a large increase in construction of these units. If theses ADU are allowed to install natural gas, they will add to the city’s GHG output. Currently JADU are allowed to use NG to tap into the utility of the main structure. There is no reason to extend this right to a detached garages, especially ones that have no gas line. If the ADU must have NG then make it conditional on the main structure installing a heat pump. That would lead to a net reduction in NG for the property.

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