Intro background

Building Efficiency

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 atmosphere. 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.

Solar_CityHall

Green Building Ordinance

Ordinance 2021-13


In 2021, the City developed a comprehensive green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) to effectively implement the following Building Efficiency CAP measures at once: 

  • 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 2021-13 also implements Renewable Energy CAP measure RE-3: Require Commercial Buildings to Install Solar Photovoltaic Systems. 

Ordinance 2021-13 development included public outreach and receipt of input, consultation with stakeholders, cost effectiveness analysis, drafting of the building code amendments, and recommendation with subsequent approval by the City’s Environmental Commission.  

The green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) was adopted by City Council on October 27, 2021, and became effective on August 2, 2022, after gaining approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC). It includes 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    

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

Last updated September 29, 2022

 

Building Energy Reduction

Homes


In accordance with the City's Climate Action Plan (CAP), a new green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) was adopted by City Council on October 27, 2021 and became effective on August 2, 2022 after gaining approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC).

Ordinance 2021-13 addresses four building-related CAP measures. The ordinance requires residential remodels to install certain energy efficiency upgrades as part of their projects. It also requires electrification of all new single-family homes and multi-family homes. The requirement for energy efficiency upgrades will apply to residential additions and alterations with a permit value of $50,000 or greater. These requirements are intended to lower carbon emissions, reduce resident’s energy bills, and improve indoor air quality.

The 2030 CAP goals for residential buildings will be achieved if approximately 250 homes undergo energy efficiency retrofits and 1,200 low-rise residential units are electrified.

Last updated September 29, 2022

BE-1: Adopt a Residential Energy Efficiency Ordinance

Building Energy Reduction - Homes


Ordinance 2021-13 requires residential remodels to install certain energy efficiency upgrades if the building is of a certain age or if the permit value is $50,000 or greater. Various requirements include air duct sealing, cool roof, energy efficient lighting, energy efficient water heating, or minimum R-38 attic insultation. The greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target for this measure will be achieved if approximately 250 homes undergo energy efficiency retrofits by 2030. Tracking progress toward this target began in August of 2022.

Last updated November 12, 2022

Home with solar panels on the roof.

BE-2: Require Decarbonization of New Residential Buildings

Building Energy Reduction - Homes


Ordinance 2021-13 requires all new residential buildings in Encinitas to be all-electric unless an exception applies. 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 low-rise residential units are electrified by 2030. Tracking progress toward this target began in August of 2022.

Last updated October 6, 2022

Electric stove top.

Building Energy Reduction

Businesses


In addition to the residential requirements, the green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) also requires higher energy efficiency standards for commercial (nonresidential) buildings.

Existing nonresidential projects will trigger these energy efficiency 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. For all new nonresidential construction, the ordinance requires all-electric construction, with limited exceptions.

The 2030 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. The 2030 CAP goals for new commercial buildings will be achieved if energy use is reduced in commercial spaces by 54,000 kWh and 500,000 therms.

Last updated September 29, 2022

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

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

Building Energy Reduction - Businesses


Ordinance 2021-13 requires commercial buildings to meet certain energy efficiency criteria, such as efficient outdoor lighting, sealed docks doors, daylight power devices, and service water heating for restaurants. To maintain consistency with the California Energy Code, the ordinance defines commercial buildings as non-residential buildings. 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 achieved by 2030. Tracking progress toward this target began in August of 2022.

Last updated October 6, 2022

Empty office space.

BE-4: Require Decarbonization of New Commercial Buildings

Building Energy Reduction - Businesses


Ordinance 2021-13 requires all new non-residential 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 achieved by 2030. Tracking progress toward this target began in August of 2022.

Last updated October 6, 2022

Electric washer and dryer.

MBE-1: Continue Implementation of Energy Efficient Projects in Municipal Facilities

Municipal Facilities Energy Consumption


The City’s CAP established a goal of reducing municipal energy consumption below 2012 baseline energy use by 7.5% by 2020 and 15% by 2030. Municipal facilities include City Hall, a Public Works facility, two libraries, the Community and Senior Center, five fire stations, and numerous parks.  

Since 2012, the City has seen a 31% reduction in overall building energy use as a result of various energy efficiency upgrades, including more efficient lighting, upgrades to heating and air conditioning systems, and other projects. This reduction exceeds both the 2020 and 2030 CAP goals. 

Major energy efficiency projects include the replacement of the Community and Senior Center building cooling system in 2015, which reduced energy consumption at that facility by 43%, and the Public Works facility LED lighting retrofit in 2016. The City continues to identify and implement energy efficiency upgrades as opportunities arise. 

Last updated November 16, 2022

Residential Buildings

How You Can Help


Buy Energy Efficient Energy STAR Appliances
Free Home Energy Surveys Available Online
Save $$$ by Using Energy During Off-Peak Hours
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Last updated July 1, 2022

Status of CAP Implementation