California jurisdictions prepare for statewide goals with new policies


A number of California communities have stepped forward recently with adoption of sustainability or energy policies that impact zero net building requirements. These go beyond individual projects which are growing in the public sector and now number 87 buildings that are either ZNE verified or emerging. From Hayward to Santa Monica, there’s no doubt that leading jurisdictions with favorable policies are driving momentum. Below is a sampling of initiatives that are driving projects to scale around the Golden State:

  • Palo Alto’s adoption in May 2016 of a local amendment to their California Energy Code requires all new buildings in the city to be “zero net energy ready” (see ZNE Action Bulletin article, Summer 2016). The new ordinance outlines local amendments to the 2016 California Energy Code, Title 24, Chapter 6 and will impact new single family, multifamily and non­residential projects in the city. It will become effective on Jan. 1, 2017 and offers two pathways for developers building new projects to comply with the reach code.  Read more
  • Hayward City Council in December of 2016 unanimously approved a resolution establishing a Zero Net Energy Goal for municipal facilities in the City of Hayward. By 2025, the City will strive to achieve Zero Net Energy (ZNE) across its portfolio of facilities. The resolution, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, brings Hayward closer to its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal to reduce municipal GHG emissions by 20% below 2005 levels by 2020.  Read more

“Santa Monica’s new zero-net energy ordinance is a forward-thinking measure that will help California meet its statewide energy efficiency goals,” said assembly member Richard Bloom. “This ordinance reflects the city’s leadership on local policymaking as well as its commitment to doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.”

  • Santa Monica City Council voted in October of 2016 to approve an ordinance requiring all new single-family construction in the City of Santa Monica to be ZNE. Santa Monica residents and developers can combine cost-effective, energy efficient design with affordable renewable energy to build ZNE homes. These new homes will contribute to the City’s robust long-range goals for energy and climate mitigation, including releasing zero carbon by 2050. In addition to ZNE for single family homes, the Santa Monica ordinance also requires non-residential construction to be designed to use 10% less energy than required by the 2016 California Energy Code.  Read more
  • San Mateo County Energy Watch (SMCEW) has developed a draft Zero Energy Strategic Plan to set goals, provide trainings, and inspire change in San Mateo County. The plan addresses two scopes of work including: 1) providing technical support and resources to cities, and 2) facilitating workforce development surrounding ZNE construction. SMCEW is currently working with local municipalities to nurture early adopters and influence development projects, provide training to design professionals, and provide tools and resources to building departments and planning commissions.  Read more

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