• As of May 2021, forty cities and counties have adopted local ordinances exceeding the current (2019) energy code, demonstrating increased commitment to energy efficiency and clean energy generation.111 Requiring additional photovoltaic and/or solar thermal is the most frequently adopted building efficiency standard (25 jurisdictions), followed by all-electric (21 jurisdictions) and electric-preferred (19 jurisdiction).

111 A current list of the jurisdictions can be found on California Energy Commission’s website: https://www.energy.ca.gov/programs-and-topics/programs/building-energy-efficiency-standards/2019-building-energy-efficiency-3

  • While many jurisdictions have begun to adopt more aggressive code standards to help transition to decarbonized buildings, only one jurisdiction (Los Gatos) has adopted an ordinance requiring buildings prewire for battery storage. Given that battery storage will play an increasingly important role in grid resiliency and accelerating renewable energy, the lack of such adoption could be a missed opportunity. In addition, these local ordinances mostly apply only to new construction; given that California has been building far fewer new homes than needed, the efficacy of these ordinances is limited from the standpoint of total adoption. These policies do, however, potentially have the benefit of expanding the skillbase of installation workforce to aid in future potential retrofits beyond new installs.
  • New statewide building code standards could help boost adoption of clean energy and electric-ready home technologies. The 2022 Energy Code, adopted this August by the California Energy Commission and set to be considered for approval by the California Building Standards Commission this December, encourages newly constructed homes to adopt electric heat pump technology, establishes electric-ready requirements for heating, cooking and EV charging, expands solar photovoltaic system and battery storage standards and strengthens ventilation standards to improve indoor air quality. If approved by the CBSC, these standards will go into effect in January 2023.112

112 California Energy Commission. 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Source: https://www.energy.ca.gov/programs-and-topics/programs/building-energy-efficiency-standards/2022-building-energy-efficiency