The Building Efficiency strategy of the City's Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to cut back on emissions by increasing the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings and reducing energy use in municipal facilities. Much of the energy that powers, heats, and cools buildings in our community is generated through the burning of fossil fuels like natural gas, which releases greenhouse gases (GHG) and other harmful emissions into the air. To reduce GHG emissions, the CAP aims to set higher energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial buildings, in addition to installing energy efficiency measures at municipal facilities. 

Implementation of the Building Efficiency strategy is estimated to reduce the City’s GHG emissions by 941 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 675 MTCO2e by 2030.

Explore the sections below to see what the City is doing to achieve these goals. 

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BE 1-4: Energy Efficiency & Decarbonization

Green Building Regulations Readoption


On October 26, 2022, the City readopted its comprehensive green building regulations (Ordinance No. 2022-13 and Ordinance No. 2022-14). These regulations were developed to effectively implement the following Building Efficiency CAP measures: 

  • BE-1: Adopt a Residential Energy Efficiency Ordinance 
  • BE-2: Require Decarbonization of New Residential Buildings 
  • BE-3: Adopt Higher Energy Efficiency Standards for Commercial Buildings 
  • BE-4: Require Decarbonization of New Commercial Buildings 

Note: Ordinance Nos. 2022-13 and 2022-14 also implement Renewable Energy CAP measure RE-3: Require Commercial Buildings to Install Solar Photovoltaic Systems, as well as Clean and Efficient CAP measures CET-4: Require Residential Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVCS) and CET-5: Require Commercial EVCS.

The green building regulations underwent a development process which included public outreach and receipt of input, consultation with stakeholders, cost effectiveness analysis, drafting of the building code amendments, and review and recommendation for adoption by the City’s Environmental Commission. 

The original ordinance went into effect on August 2, 2022, after gaining approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC). The readopted regulations went into effect concurrent with the readopted local building code on January 1, 2023. Local building codes must be readopted by municipalities after each time the state completes its triannual building code update.

The City’s green building regulations include requirements that address the following: 

  • Higher energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial buildings 
  • Installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on commercial buildings 
  • Decarbonization of all new buildings through the required use of all-electric appliances

The most notable change to the green building regulations is the temporary suspension of EMC 23.12.110.B and EMC 23.12.110.C, which regulate the use of fuel gas infrastructure in new buildings, that took place June 14, 2023 in response to  the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley. If the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is overturned or modified, the City Council will immediately consider reinstating the regulation.  All other portions of the local Energy Code and Green Building Code and all portions of Title 24 building code are still in effect. City staff are working on an alternative solution to encourage decarbonization of new construction in Encinitas.

The following sections describe the requirements in more detail as they relate to each CAP measure. Additional information can also be found on the City’s website.

Last updated March 5, 2024

 

Building Energy Reduction

Homes


In accordance with the Climate Action Plan (CAP), the City’s local green building regulations were adopted by City Council in 2021 and readopted in 2022 (Ordinance No. 2022-13 and Ordinance No. 2022-14) concurrent with the incorporation of the state’s triannual code amendment updates. The original regulations were effective on August 2, 2022. The readopted regulations went into effect on January 1, 2023. 

Ordinance Nos. 2022-13 and 2022-14 address four building-related CAP measures. Ordinance No. 2022-13 requires certain residential remodels to install energy efficiency upgrades as part of their projects. Ordinance 2022-14 requires electrification of all new single-family homes and multi-family homes. The requirements are intended to lower carbon emissions, reduce residents’ energy bills, and improve indoor air quality. The CAP goals for residential buildings will be achieved if approximately 250 homes undergo energy efficiency retrofits and 1,200 homes are electrified by 2030.

Last updated May 10, 2023

BE-2: Require Decarbonization of New Residential Buildings

Residential Building Electrification


Ordinance 2022-14 requires all new residential buildings constructed in Encinitas to be all-electric, including single family homes and multi-family homes. An all-electric building is defined as having no natural gas or propane plumbing, no gas meter connection, and only using electricity as the source of energy for space and water heating, cooking appliances, and clothes drying appliances. If applicable, an all-electric building may include solar-thermal pool heating. These requirements are intended to lower GHG emissions, reduce resident’s energy bills, and improve indoor and outdoor air quality. The GHG reduction target for this measure will be achieved if 1,200 homes are electrified by 2030.

On June 14, 2023, in response to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, Encinitas City Council temporarily suspended EMC 23.12.110.B and EMC 23.12.110.C, which regulate the use of fuel gas infrastructure in new buildings. However, there were 7 voluntarily electrified residential buildings that were constructed in 2023.

Last updated February 22, 2024

Electric stove top.

Building Energy Reduction

Businesses & Commercial Units


In addition to the residential requirements, the green building regulations (Ordinance No. 2022-13 and Ordinance No. 2022-14) also require higher energy efficiency standards and decarbonization for commercial (also called nonresidential) buildings. 

Existing commercial projects with steel framing will trigger the energy efficiency requirement in Ordinance No. 2022-13 if they are adding at least 1,000 square feet of building space or undergoing a building alteration with a permit value of at least $200,000. For all new nonresidential buildings, Ordinance No. 2022-14 requires all-electric construction, with limited exceptions. 

The CAP goals for existing nonresidential buildings will be achieved if energy consumption of commercial projects is reduced by 1.4 million kWh electricity use and 5,000 therms natural gas use by 2030. The CAP goals for new nonresidential buildings will be achieved if energy use is reduced in commercial spaces by 54,000 kWh and 500,000 therms by 2030.

UNIT

Energy from different sources is measured in different ways—electricity is measured in kWh, while natural gas is measured in therms. To better understand and compare total energy use, we often convert these different measures into a common unit: Million British Thermal Units (MMBTU).

MMBTUMillion British Thermal Units

Energy from different sources is measured in different ways—electricity is measured in kWh, while natural gas is measured in therms. To better understand and compare total energy use, we often convert these different measures into a common unit: Million British Thermal Units (MMBTU).

MMBTUMillion British Thermal Units


Last updated April 2, 2024

BE-3: Adopt Higher Energy Efficiency Standards for Commercial Buildings

Energy Efficiency & Steel Framing


Ordinance 2022-14 requires commercial and residential buildings with steel framing to maximize energy efficiency by avoiding thermal bridging—weak points in buildings that cause heat loss—through exterior rigid insulation and structural design. In addition to commercial buildings like retail, office, and warehousing, the ordinance also applies to hotels, motels, and multi-family housing complexes more than three stories tall. 

Existing commercial projects will trigger these requirements if they are adding at least 1,000 square feet of building space or undergoing a building alteration with a permit value of at least $200,000. The GHG reduction target for this measure will be achieved if a total reduction of 1.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity use and 5,000 therms of natural gas use is accomplished by 2030.

Last updated February 22, 2024

Empty office space.

BE-4: Require Decarbonization of New Commercial Buildings

Commerical Building Electrification


Ordinance 2022-14 requires all new commercial (nonresidential) buildings in Encinitas to be all-electric, with limited exceptions. An all-electric building is defined as having no natural gas or propane plumbing, no gas meter connection, and only uses electricity as the source of energy for space and water heating, cooking appliances, and clothes drying appliances. If applicable, an all-electric building may include solar-thermal pool heating. The GHG reduction target for this measure will be achieved if a total reduction of 54,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity use and 500,000 therms of natural gas use is accomplished by 2030.

On June 14, 2023, in response to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, Encinitas City Council temporarily suspended EMC 23.12.110.B and EMC 23.12.110.C, which regulate the use of fuel gas infrastructure in new buildings.

Last updated February 22nd, 2024

Electric washer and dryer.

Residential Buildings

How You Can Help


Buy Discounted ENERGY STAR Appliances
Save on Commercial Building Equipment
Learn How to Electrify Your Home for Less
Close up of an ENERGY STAR sticker on an appliance

Last updated July 1, 2022

Status of CAP Implementation