Marin County mandates all-electric new residential and commercial construction

Marin County mandates all-electric new residential and commercial construction

Stating in January 1, 2023, all new residential and commercial construction in Marin must be all electric.

Marin County supervisors recently voted unanimously to approve an ordinance mandating the change effective almost immediately.

The ordinance also includes provisions designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of natural gas. These include tougher energy efficiency requirements for additions, alterations and remodels, and increased access to electric vehicle charging stations for people living in multifamily housing.

Natural gas accounted for 26% of Marin’s countywide greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, second only to transportation, which caused 56% of the county’s emissions.

“Building electrification and electric vehicle readiness are essential to Marin’s transition off fossil fuels,” said Bill Carney, speaking as a member of MarinCAN. Formerly known as Drawdown: Marin, MarinCAN is a new nonprofit launched earlier this year to address climate change through collective action.

Annika Osborn, outreach director for Cool the Earth, said, “We appreciate the county’s work to improve green building requirements, particularly for electric vehicle infrastructure for both new buildings and renovations.”

Sue Saunders, a member of the San Anselmo Climate Action Commission, said, “If we do not dramatically reduce our dependence on methane, we have no chance of avoiding the catastrophic consequences of climate change. What you are voting on today is the future not only for us but for our children and grandchildren.”

The stricter rules for additions, alterations and remodels apply to single-family homes over 750 square feet. Owners will be required to implement additional energy efficiency and electrifications beyond state code, however, they will be given options for doing so. They will be allowed to select from a menu of energy efficiency and electrification measures.

The county is not contemplating all-electric requirements for renovations or remodels of existing buildings at this time, nor does it intend to require appliance swaps at the time of replacement, otherwise known as “time of burnout.”

But Ken Strong, a member of the Marin Conservation League’s climate action working group, said, “We would certainly like to see the county move forward next year and look at how we can start incentivizing people to replace existing gas appliances when it is time.”

The county’s ordinance also surpasses state requirements by requiring that multifamily housing residents be provided with access to electric vehicle charging stations.

Marin County is requiring that 15% of new multifamily units with parking spaces have level 2 charging stations, while the state is requiring that only 5% of multifamily units with parking spaces be equipped with level 2 chargers.

The county is requiring that the other 85% of units in multifamily developments have access to lower-power level 2 electric vehicle receptacles that a car’s charging cable can plug into. The county’s ordinance mandates upgrading of electric vehicle charging capability at multifamily housing units when parking lots are modified.

The county’s Community Development Agency is working with Marin cities and towns in an effort to get them to develop similar policies. As of August, 60 California jurisdictions, including Fairfax and San Anselmo, had adopted ordinances requiring all-electric buildings for new construction.

If you want to know how this might impact real estate in Marin County, please reach out to me. As most of us know, with the changes in interest rates over the last few months, the market is changing, so if you see something you’d like to visit, please Contact Me to get started - Tracy Curtis, Coldwell Banker Realty  [email protected]

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