Southern California Edison is committed to carbon neutrality by 2045. As outlined in our decarbonization roadmap Pathway 2045, building codes and standards play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
Local governments are key partners in reducing emissions, leading the way by recognizing climate change's impacts and passing new building code ordinances, such as reach codes.
The information below is provided for local government leaders interested in developing reach codes and related electrification policies.
What is a Reach Code?
A reach code is a local building energy code that goes beyond or “reaches” past the state minimum requirements for energy use or GHG emissions in building design and construction, usually to address issues such as GHG emissions targets, energy efficiency, air quality, and public health and safety concerns (inside and outside of buildings). Reach codes are not limited to the buildings sector—they may also involve transportation technologies such as an electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in residential and commercial buildings.
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Benefits of Reach Codes
Reach codes provide an impressive array of environmental, economic, and health benefits:
- Lower GHG Emissions and Climate Impact
- Progress toward Climate Action Plan Goals
- Improved Public Health
- Cleaner Air
- Better Preparation for Local Businesses and Citizens to Meet New State Standards
- More Affordable Buildings
- Safer and More Comfortable Buildings
- Increased Resiliency
- Lower Utility Bills
Templates to Help Cities Design Reach Codes – and Staff Reports
For municipal staff members to use in framing reach codes: https://localenergycodes.com/.
Below are Reach Code ordinances and staff reports from jurisdictions that recently passed reach codes in the region. More reach codes have been passed in Northern California, but activity is picking up in Southern California.
- City of Santa Barbara’s reach code ordinance and staff report
- City of Santa Monica’s reach code ordinance and staff report
- City of Ojai’s reach code ordinance and staff report
- County of Ventura's reach code ordinance (starting on PDF page 151) and staff report
- City of Glendale’s reach code ordinance and staff report
- City of Pasadena’s reach code ordinance and staff report
- City of Riverside’s reach code ordinance and staff report (second reading will be held on 12/20/22)
- City of Los Angeles' reach code ordinance and staff report (second reading will likely be held in December 2022)
Statewide Lists of Recent Reach Codes
These groups track recently passed reach codes in California and provide useful information to other jurisdictions that are researching their reach code options.
- California Energy Commission Statewide Reach Codes Program - https://localenergycodes.com/
- Statewide Reach Codes Program’s matrix, which includes direct PDF links to the ordinances, and their interactive statewide map
- Building Decarbonization Coalition
- Sierra Club (includes jurisdiction agenda links to the ordinances and/or staff reports)
- CEC’s List of Local Ordinances Exceeding the 2019 Energy Code
- CBSC’s List of Local Amendments to Building Standards
Reach Code Myths versus Facts
The topic of reach codes can be complex when you consider all the possible measures and outcomes – and the sometimes-conflicting information promoted by proponents and opponents. Here are some common myths and the corresponding facts that dispel them.
There are numerous resources available to local governments interested in pursuing reach codes.
- Statewide Reach Codes Program’s Local Energy Codes
- This statewide program is led jointly by the California Investor-Owned Utilities, including SCE. It is the primary repository of all their reach code resources, and much of the content here is derived from there.
- Statewide Reach Codes Program’s Cost Effectiveness Explorer
- The Cost Effectiveness Explorer allows you to enter your jurisdiction, pick possible reach codes, see the savings customized to your jurisdiction, and see supporting materials for Council or Board adoption.
- Reach code process timeline
- BayREN Reach Codes
- Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN)
- Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3C-REN)
- California Climate & Energy Collaborative
- Building Decarbonization Coalition
- Switch Is On
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This reach code development timeline can help shape expectations about the reach code process.
Source: Statewide Reach Codes Program, Reach Codes Newcomers Webinar #1
Third-Party Studies on Electrification & Its Impacts
Here are a few third-party studies that address electrification:
- E3’s residential electrification report that was funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC)
- Studies about indoor air quality and gas appliances from the Smithsonian, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford
- The Rocky Mountain Institute publishes economic analyses of the costs of all-electric housing.
Estimated Costs Associated with a Reach Code
Southern California Edison provides direct technical assistance to local governments during the reach code process to help defray labor and other typical costs. The following table assembled with local governments which successfully passed a reach code ordinance shows some of the typical costs associated with pursuing a reach code.
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SCE Electrification Technology Fact Sheets
SCE provides technology fact sheets on various key electrification technologies or topics:
Past Events & More Resources
The shortlist below of past reach code events for local jurisdictions includes links to the slide decks and provides a good introduction to the topic. For upcoming events by the Statewide Reach Codes Program, please see https://localenergycodes.com/content/events.
- Reach Codes for All-Electric Buildings” slide deck presented by Jay Madden, PE, SCE, Energy Codes & Standards during the County Building Officials Association of California (CBOAC) Annual Conference & Business Meeting in April 2022
- Reach Codes Newcomers Webinar (recordings and slide decks)
Related SCE Resources
These additional SCE webpages could help jurisdictions during their reach code-related research.
Incentives & Rebates
These incentives and rebates are available to SCE customers to increase the cost-effectiveness of reducing GHG emissions in buildings.