Pride Flag

The City of San Rafael celebrates Pride Month

 

Green Building and Electrification

Across California, jurisdictions are looking to reduce energy use in buildings, which are our second-highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in our local GHG inventories. Additionally, the State of California is heading towards an all-electric future. Using electric appliances in homes improves indoor air quality, reducing GHG emissions, and saves residents money on utility bills over time.

The City worked with the County of Marin and other local stakeholders to develop model Green Building “reach codes,” that go beyond State codes to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In December 2022, the City adopted a requirement for most new construction to be all-electric by prohibiting the use of natural (methane) gas in new construction. You can find the building code here.  The City has stopped enforcing the gas prohibitions due to a  9th Circuit Court ruling against the City of Berkeley and the City Council is contemplating repealing that portion of the building code. However, we strongly encourage applicants to eliminate gas in new construction to avoid having stranded assets and to reduce the health and climate impacts of methane gas in homes.

Future actions include the development of codes that address reductions in energy in existing homes (currently scheduled for the May 20 City Council meeting) and the creation of a resources to help building owners and contractors (see below). Read the existing homes reach code proposal for major renovations to single family homes. It is supported by a cost-effectiveness study completed by the California Energy Codes and Standards team. To further electrification efforts, the County of Marin launched Electrify Marin, a countywide rebate program to reduce natural gas use in homes by providing incentives to homeowners in Marin to replace existing natural gas water heaters, furnaces, and stoves with high-efficiency electric alternatives.

Resources

We know how hard it is to figure out where to start. So, we created these resources below to find more technical support, guides, and rebates and incentives, including a new 8-Step Guide to Electrify Your Home for homeowners. Check them out below and let us know if you have any feedback!

For more detailed information and resources on electrification and energy efficiency, refer to the California Energy Commission's Building and Home Energy Resource Hub.

FAQs:

  1. Where can I find the CalGreen checklists?
  2. How do I calculate my load to see if I have enough electricity for electrifying?
    • Refer to pages 15-18 of this Electrify Everything Guide from Rewiring America, with additional panel calculation resources listed on page 18. Redwood Energy also has a great Watt Calculator for assessing your real need for electricity: panel upgrades are not always necessary.
  3. How do I find a contractor?
    • Check out sources such as Switch Is On that have lists of contractors nearby.
  4. How do I find out about incentives, rebates and technical assistance for my project?
    • Most rebates and technical assistance can be found at Switchison.org. Also refer to our links above for other resources based on project or appliance types.

For more frequently asked questions, please see the County of Marin’s comprehensive building electrification FAQ Sheet.

New construction and most remodels must follow the California Green Building Standards Code (CalGreen) requirements set by the state. CalGreen checklists can be found here: CA Building Standards – CALGreen 

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