New building codes include climate change mandates, Sacramento Business Journal, July 17, 2022

Starting in January, most new commercial construction in California will be required to install some solar generation and battery storage, along with heat pump technology, as the state moves toward its zero-carbon goals.

The new 2022 building standards mandate, approved by the California Energy Commission, adds to the renewable solar mandate that went into effect in January 2020 for all new single-family residential construction.

Click here to read the article in full.

City of Sac’s New Building Electrification Ordinance

On May 31, 2021, ECOS submitted our letter of support for the proposed Sacramento City Council New Construction Electrification Ordinance.

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) urges the Sacramento City Council to support the New Construction Electrification Ordinance. This ordinance is an important first step in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and its passage would show we are serious in adopting the unanimous recommendations of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change.

Click here to read the letter in full.


City Council Votes June 1

The New Building Electrification Ordinance will be presented at an upcoming City Council meeting.

Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 (see the agenda and staff report here*)
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Video Conference (see the meetings page for the link to eComment once the agenda is posted)
Hearing Title: An Ordinance Adding to and Amending Various Provisions of Title 15 of the Sacramento City Code and Adopting Local Amendments to the California Building Standards Code, Relating to Green Building Standards Including Electrification

Comments can be provided via eComment before or during the meeting. You may also call directly into the meeting to provide comments.


What is the New Building Electrification Ordinance?

The City of Sacramento is considering a reach code known as the “New Building Electrification Ordinance” that would establish phased requirements for new construction to be all-electric. A “reach code” is a local code that “reaches” beyond the state minimum requirements for energy use in building design and construction. The Ordinance would make changes to Title 15 (Buildings and Construction Code) of City Code to require all-electric new construction for new buildings that are 1-3 stories when building permits are filed on or after January 1, 2023, and for buildings that are four stories or more when building permits are filed after on or after January 1, 2026. With a few exceptions, new buildings would not include natural gas or propane plumbing and would use only electricity as the sole source of energy.

Consistent with the recommendations of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change and in response to stakeholder feedback on the feasibility of certain project types, the New Building Electrification Ordinance includes provisions for an infeasibility waiver for the portions of the project where all electric is demonstrated by the project applicant to be infeasible. In addition, the Ordinance includes limited exemptions for cooking equipment in commercial food establishments, for process loads in manufacturing and industrial facilities, and for water heating systems in regulated affordable housing (when virtual net energy metering is not available). The staff report and presentation will also address related key issues, including next steps to develop a strategy for decarbonizing existing buildings.

You are invited to participate in the upcoming public hearing.

Any Questions?

Please visit http://www.cityofsacramento.org/SacElectrificationOrdinance to review a summary of the project, community and stakeholder engagement (including videos of eight informational webinars), the Final New Building Electrification Ordinance for City Council’s consideration on June 1, and answers to questions that city staff have heard from the community and stakeholders over the course of the project.

If you have any questions please contact Helen Selph at (916) 808-7852 or HSelph[at]cityofsacramento[dot]org

Sac City Building Electrification Ordinance

On May 4, 2021, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) sent the following in an email to the City of Sacramento’s Law and Legislation Committee regarding a Building Electrification Ordinance.

Dear City Council members Eric, Katie, Jeff, and Jay,

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) supports the proposed New Building Electrification Ordinance, to be considered today by the Sacramento Law and Legislation Committee. ECOS believes that the proposed ordinance is necessary for the City to take appropriate action to be a leader in the development of technology that all cities will need before long, as the threat of climate change becomes increasingly obvious to all. It will benefit the City to be a leader, as we strive to develop a world-class economy.

We note that the proposed ordinance is generally consistent with the recommendation from the Mayors’ Climate Commission. It would require new buildings, with permit applications filed on or after January 1, 2023, to be all electric. Buildings that are four stories or more, with building permit applications filed on or after January 1, 2026, would be all electric. We note that staff has added time limited exemptions for food establishments for cooking equipment only, and for manufacturing process loads within a manufacturing or industrial facility. The revised ordinance also includes more detail on the process for obtaining an infeasibility waiver. We hope that the Committee agrees that, with these changes, it can support the proposed ordinance.

Ralph Propper, ECOS President


Update: Good News!

After we sent our letter, at their meeting later the same day, the Sac City Law and Legislation Committee voted to recommend that the proposed New Building Electrification ordinance move forward to the full Council. The vote was 3:1 (with Schenirer, Harris, and Guerra voting for, and Valenzuela voting against). The Committee also directed the staff to do further outreach between now and the council meeting.

We want to express a huge thank you to those of you who took the time to write support letters on behalf of yourself and your organizations. It made a big difference as the opposition is strong, especially from restaurants.

The item is tentatively scheduled for the May 25 council meeting. It’s important that we continue to express our support between now and then.


Photo by Pixabay https://www.pexels.com/photo/time-lapse-photography-of-blue-lights-373543/