New State and Local Energy Codes in 2020 and Planning for 2022

Am I the only one who feels the end of the year is getting here faster than it should?
Are you ready for the building code changes affecting all our work starting January 1, 2020? We at Gabel Energy are ready, and we look forward to helping you navigate Energy Code compliance options for your projects
for this next code cycle.

Are you aware of REACH codes?
Local city and county governments can choose to adopt more stringent Energy Code and CALGreen requirements than dictated by the state code. Those local governments do have to show that the more stringent requirements will pay for themselves over the lifetime of those building features, and then have them approved by the Energy Commission. In the 2016 code cycle, we had a few cities reaching for Zero Net Energy (ZNE) through use of REACH codes by requiring photovoltaics (PV) for new buildings in anticipation of the Energy Code requiring them in the 2019 code cycle (i.e. San Francisco, County of Alameda, Fremont, Palo Alto). We are seeing REACH codes addressing carbon for the 2019 code cycle.

What do you think about natural gas/propane?
The REACH codes we are seeing being proposed are all about carbon emissions. None have been adopted yet by the Energy Commission, but we expect a lot are working on being approved at the November Business Meeting. There are currently 54 cities, mostly through assistance by East Bay Community Energy, that are working on adopting REACH codes that either will not allow natural gas (i.e. Menlo Park, Berkeley) or that require that buildings that plan on using natural gas must exceed the Energy Code with more stringent compliance goals (i.e. lower EDR score for new residential buildings; or a certain percentage, such as 10%, better than minimum). Let us help you navigate these additional requirements and how they may affect your design (and budget). If you are interested in learning more about the REACH code process and the “template” REACH codes that are being offered to cities to explore, check out

How about being part of the 2022 code cycle?
The 2022 code cycle is being developed now through the end of 2020, but the ability to have a say and have an interactive part of the proceedings is only for the next 8 months. Multifamily buildings are going through the biggest changes, as is lighting
(again). To get involved, sign up at and indicate which building feature(s) interest you the most. You will get notifications for meetings and webinars being held over the next 8 months which you are more than welcome (in fact, highly encouraged) to join.

We look forward to working with you to determine the best options for your projects under this next 2019 Energy Code cycle!






Article written by Gina Rodda, Principal/Owner of Gabel Energy
First published in the Gabel Energy Summer/Fall 2019 Newsletter