KW: California to Require All-Electric Appliances.
According to a new County ordinance that goes above and beyond state requirements related to climate change, new buildings in unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County will be required to install all-electric appliances and heating systems, as well as include infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.
The Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance at their meeting on Tuesday, and it states that all new construction must use electricity and not natural gas for appliances like those used to heat water, space, cook food, dry clothes, create fireplaces both indoors and outdoors, and operate decorative appliances.
Additionally, new homes must have cabling put in that makes it possible to incorporate battery storage for added resilience, cost efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Buildings that are multi-story residential, commercial, or hotel/motel will additionally need to have a solar panel system installed.
Supervisor Otto Lee commented, “This is obviously consistent with our Climate Action Plan and will assist us in meeting our aim to achieve 100% carbon neutrality by 2045.” As electric cars grow in popularity, we must keep up with the infrastructure required to be on pace with our climate change objectives. Therefore, I’m especially pleased to see that this law includes EV infrastructure criteria for new development.
All building uses are subject to the ordinance, which goes into effect on February 14, 2022, with a few exceptions:
- Junior Accessory Dwelling Units wholly incorporated into a single-family dwelling and having existing infrastructure such as natural gas pipes
- Facilities for healthcare and incarceration
- buildings where it is not practical to use just electric appliances
Any facility that has been granted an exemption must already be wired for the eventual switch to an all-electric system. If you are looking for a repair company for these electric appliances, for examples these local repair technicians may be able to help.
Jasneet Sharma, Director of the Office of Sustainability for the County of Santa Clara, stated that electrifying buildings and promoting the use of electric cars are two of the most affordable and low-risk approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That translates to better indoor air quality and safety for our citizens, fewer gas guzzlers on the road, and fewer air pollutants.
For single-family homes and townhouses, the minimum amount of EV outlets required ranges from two to high-capacity charging stations and parking spots designated for charging usage in bigger non-residential buildings.
According to Jacqueline Onciano, Director of the Department of Planning and Development for the County of Santa Clara, “Transportation contributes the biggest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions across the country. The path toward a more sustainable environment lies in electrification and the expansion of infrastructure to facilitate the use of electric vehicles.
The law amends the 2019 California Energy Code and the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code, which permit local energy amendments to be adopted by cities and counties. These laws, often referred to as “Reach Codes,” go above and above the minimum standards set by the state to promote building electrification. These codes have been accepted by almost all of Santa Clara County’s incorporated communities.
Because they don’t require natural gas infrastructure, metering, and venting, all new electric structures (including single-family houses) are often less expensive to construct than mixed-fuel buildings, according to cost-effectiveness studies.