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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Biocom California Testifies on Proposed Emeryville Reach Codes

  • 2021-03-25T15:00:00.000+0000
  • Author: Mitzy De La Peña Medina

On March 2nd, Biocom CA provided public comment at Emeryville's City Council meeting to address proposed energy and building "reach codes" up for consideration.

Defined by California Energy Codes and Standards, energy efficiency "reach codes" are often proposed amendments to building codes that require developments to meet standards for energy efficiency/GHG emissions reduction beyond the state's requirements. "Reach codes" proposals are acted on and implemented by local city and county governments.

The proposals discussed at Emeryville's council meeting include an electric-only requirement for new residential occupancies and two potential non-residential construction pathways: all-electric at current code, or mixed-fuel with increased efficiency infrastructure for future electrification. Lastly, a new requirement for solar to be installed on all new construction and a low-carbon concrete code were also proposed, modeled after Marin County.

While moving towards a more sustainable approach and reducing climate change is important to the life science industry, “reach codes” could make it difficult to operate equipment such as boilers and HVAC systems at the levels necessary to maintain industry facilities.

At the meeting, Biocom CA staff asked Emeryville City Council to delay a decision on the codes until further input from the community can be gathered.

Council decided not to act on the item and will take additional time to understand the impacts the proposed codes could have on the life science community.

Emeryville's Sustainability Committee will continue to hold meetings to study the proposed "reach codes" further, prioritizing electrification first. The city is also putting together a roundtable discussion with life science stakeholders in Emeryville. For members interested in taking part in the roundtable, please email Mitzy De La Pena Medina directly.

The policy team will continue to update our members as information develops.