Energy Reach Code

The City is taking strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings, by way of electrification. Electrification is the process of converting fossil fuel operated equipment and appliances to electricity (i.e. vehicles, space heating, water heating).   The Healdsburg Electric Dept. provides low-carbon electricity to our customers that will continue to decline in carbon intensity to meet California's mandate of carbon-free electricity by 2045. In order to avoid future greenhouse gas emissions, a reach code that promotes electrification can minimize GHG impacts. 

What is a Reach Code?

In California, Title 24 of the Code of Regulations sets the building code standards for all jurisdictions statewide. The Energy Code (Part 6 of Title 24) regulates building energy efficiency such as building insulation, heating and cooling systems, and lighting. Local governments can adopt more stringent energy efficiency requirements through the development of reach codes. 

A reach code must be at least as stringent as the statewide code and must meet the following requirements:

1. As a minimum, reach codes must be cost effective. Meaning that the money saved from the reduced energy costs must cover initial cost increases (if any) within the standard lifetime of the additional energy efficiency measures.

2. Require a minimum of two public hearings prior to local adoption.

3. Must be approved by the California Energy Commission.

4. Needs to be reviewed and re-approved every three years with the code cycle.

Which Reach Codes are Healdsburg considering?

Staff has identified three possible variations of a reach code to avoid greenhouse gas emissions in newly constructed single-family and low-rise multi-family units, for Council to consider. Potential options for consideration are listed below.

1. Mixed fuel: This reach code creates two options to reduce GHG emissions; (1) a home that has both electric and natural gas but exceeds the state building energy efficiency requirements by 15 percent or (2) builds an all-electric building.

2. Electric space and water heating: This option would install electric heating appliances(i.e. heat-pump water and space heating) in homes but allow for gas cooking and a gas fireplace.

3. All-Electric: This option does not install natural gas infrastructure to newly constructed homes, avoiding the costs of a gas service, plumbing for gas appliances, and reducing the largest amount of GHG emissions.

What building types could the reach code be applied to?

New Construction Low-Rise Residential

•New construction single family residential

•New construction of an accessory dwelling unit

•Multifamily residential properties under 4 stories in height

New Construction Commercial Buildings

•Could be limited to retail, warehouses, and offices

Major Renovations and Significant Remodels

•Defined as removal of any structure's exterior wall area and roof/ceiling area, exposes 75% or more of the entire building's existing conditioned space.


Codes & Standards Statewide Cost Effectiveness Studies (Residential and Non-residential)

Appliances & Technology  

Heat Pump HVAC  - List of models and specifications

Heat Pump Water Heaters - List of models and specifications 

Cooking - List of  models and prices

Fireplaces - List of models and prices

Dryers - List of models and prices

Landscaping - List of models and prices

Community Engagement and Process Timeline 

Aug 19, 2019 - Introduction to City Council, seeking direction to get public feedback on reach code preferences. Staff report with background information can be found here

Sept 24, 2019 - Community Workshop to receive feedback on reach code preferences.

Reach Code Basics presentation - Felicia Smith, City of Healdsburg

Efficient Electric Technology presentation - Amy Rider, Archamy Consulting

Reach Code Cost Effectiveness presentation- Ted Tiffany, Guttman & Blaevoet

Oct 24, 2019 - Report back to City Council on community input.

Provide Feedback

Public feedback is welcomed and can be provided in writing and/or in person at upcoming Council meetings. Please submit any written questions, concerns or feedback to Felicia Smith.