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2019 Reach Code Initiative
Reach Codes in San Jose
The City of San José is exploring the development of reach codes to electrify buildings and transportation vehicles. New Buildings Institute is guiding the City’s reach code evaluation and stakeholder engagement process.

What Are Reach Codes?
Reach codes are building codes that are more advanced than those required by the state. Every three years, cities and counties across California adopt new Building Standards Code (Standards) or Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. Cities can also choose to adopt local reach codes, on top of these Standards, at anytime.   

Reach codes may include:

Prescriptive Codes: Require one or more specific energy efficiency measures, solar photovoltaic (PV),
  electric vehicle (EV), or battery storage
Performance Codes: Require a building to perform more efficiently based on accepted computer modeling
  and allow trade-offs between energy efficiency measures, solar PV, EV, or battery storage

Several Bay Area cities have utilized reach codes in the past, including Fremont, Palo Alto, and San Mateo. 

Why Establish Reach Codes?
Climate Smart San José is the community’s approved climate action plan. The plan makes San José one of the first major cities to have greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets aligned with the international Paris Agreement. Reach codes that support energy efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy can save energy and reduce GHG emissions.

San José can reduce emissions by powering new and existing buildings and vehicles with GHG-free electricity. Instead of burning natural gas and gasoline to operate buildings and vehicles, they can run on clean electricity provided by San José Clean Energy. All-electric buildings are safer and healthier to live in and are cost effective, especially when designed at the new construction stage.

Learn more about building electrification initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in this presentation on building decarbonization.

Process and Timeline

It is most efficient for a city and for local development projects to coordinate adoption of reach codes with the adoption of the new 2019 CA Building Code, taking effect January 1, 2020.

The process and timeline below align with a January 1, 2020 potential reach code start date.

Statewide Cost Effectiveness Studies Completed Mar. 2019
Review Code Options Apr. 2019
External Stakeholder Input May - July 2019
Submit for Council Review Sept. 2019
Application to California Energy Commission Sept. 30, 2019
File with Building Standards Commission Dec. 2019
New Code Effective Jan. 1, 2020

Public Meetings
• Monday, September 9 – Transportation and Environment Committee Meeting
    Time: 1:30 PM PDT
  Location: City Hall, Wing Room 118/119   200 E Santa Clara Street, San José    The memo and attachments for this meeting are available here: 
          2019 Transportation and Environment Committee Memo and Attachments

• Tuesday, September 17 – City Council
    Time: 1:30 PM PDT
  Location: Council Chambers   200 E Santa Clara Street, San José   2019 Council Memo and Attachments

Previous Stakeholder Meetings
 Wednesday, May 29 – Introduction to Reach Codes in San José
  Time: 5:30 - 7:30 PM PDT (Agenda | Presentation)
  Location: City Hall, Wing Room 118/119 
  200 E Santa Clara Street, San José 

• Tuesday, June 4 – San José Reach Code for Commercial New Construction
  Time: 12:30 - 3:30 PM PDT (Agenda | Presentation)
  Location: City Hall, Wing Room 118/119
  200 E Santa Clara Street, San José 

 Monday, June 24 – Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee, Reach Code Update Presentation
  Time: 1:30 PM PDT (CED Committee Memo | Presentation)
  Location: City Hall, Wing Room 118-120
  200 E Santa Clara Street, San José

 Tuesday, June 25 – San 
José Reach Code for Residential New Construction
  Time: 5:00 - 8:00 PM PDT (Agenda | Presentation)
  Location: City Hall, Wing Room 118/119
  200 E Santa Clara Street, San José 

• Wednesday, July 10 – Final Reach Code Development Meeting 
  Time: 1:00 - 5:00 PM PDT (Agenda | Presentation)
  Location: City Hall Rotunda, Mezzanine on Second Floor
  200 E Santa Clara Street, San José 

Comment Period
The proposed reach code (redline version) is now available here. You can also view a summary of the proposed reach code components (updated version 9/6/2019). Staff will present the proposed reach code at the Transportation and Environment Committee meeting on September 9, 2019 and at the City Council meeting on September 17, 2019. See the Public Meetings section for details. 

The comment period for the draft reach code closed on July 23, 2019. The draft language is archived under Resources below.

Contact us if you have any questions. Fill out the Reach Code Stakeholder Notification Form to be added to our notification list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
• BayREN’s Guide to Understanding and Adopting Reach Codes
Reach Code Ordinances (adopted by local governments across California)
• Statewide Cost-Effectiveness Study - Residential
• Statewide Cost-Effectiveness Study - Non-residential
Archived Draft Reach Code Language (the comment period for the draft has been closed)