San Anselmo's Efforts to Go Green
What Is the Town Doing to Reduce Emissions and Air Pollution from Buildings?
The Town’s adopted Climate Action Plan includes several measures to reduce emissions from buildings that primarily focus on replacing gas appliances with electric appliances, improving energy efficiency, and generating more electricity from renewables.
A significant action that the Town has taken to reduce emissions from buildings is through the adoption of reach codes. Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations contains the California Building Standards Code, which governs the design and construction of buildings, associated facilities, and equipment in the state. California updates these requirements every three years. The latest 2022 Building Code was published July 1, 2022, with an effective date of January 1, 2023. All jurisdictions must adopt at least the minimum standards of the Building Code; however, State law authorizes local agencies to enact local amendments to the Building Code if reasonably necessary because of local climatic, geological, or topographical conditions. These local amendments are often termed “reach codes” and may be adopted as a green building ordinance at any time during the code cycle.
All-Electric Building Ordinance Adoption
At the June 28, 2022 meeting, the Town Council adopted Ordinance 1165 that required all newly constructed residential buildings to be all-electric buildings as of July 28, 2022. Over 60 jurisdictions across California have now adopted similar ordinances requiring all-electric buildings for new construction.
2023 Green Building Ordinance
At the September 12, 2023 meeting, the Town Council adopted Ordinance 1181 that includes several green building requirements that exceed the requirements of the 2022 California Building Standards Code. These requirements were developed in collaboration with County staff and staff from several Marin jurisdictions that included a comprehensive community engagement strategy. The reach code will help:
- Provide equitable access to EV charging for renters.
- Reduce emissions in single-family residences undergoing additions or alterations through the implementation of energy efficiency and electrification measures.
- Improve water efficiency, material conservation, and indoor environmental quality in new and remodeled buildings.
Replacing Gas Appliances in Town Buildings
In addition to adopting reach codes, Town staff have been working on replacing gas appliances in any Town-owned buildings. In 2022, the gas water heaters were replaced in the Public Works Corporation Yard, Fire Stations 19 & 20, and the Robson-Harrington House with new heat pump water heaters (HPWHs). Thanks to PG&E and MCE match funding through Willdan’s HPWH electrification program, the Town was able to have this work completed at zero net cost and is expected to reduce electricity usage by 28,490 kWh per year, gas usage by 3,328 therms per year, and lifecycle GHG emissions by 122 metric tons CO2e. The Town will continue to pursue building electrification initiatives for all its facilities to reduce energy usage, utility costs, and emissions.