California reach codes

Description: The California Energy Commission (CEC) has established a process which allows local adoption of energy efficiency standards that are more stringent than the statewide requirements. These more stringent standards, known as reach codes, allow local governmental agencies to adopt and enforce energy standards for newly constructed buildings, additions, alterations, and repairs to existing buildings provided the Energy Commission finds that the standards will require buildings to be designed to consume no more energy than permitted by California Code of Regulations Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Parts 6 and 11).

The CEC has approved reach codes that applied to the Title 24 codes from 2005, 2008, 2013, 2016, and 2019. Several of these earlier reach codes have been adopted by the California Energy Commission in later Title 24 Code updates. An example is the requirement for solar photovoltaics (PV) on new low-rise residential buildings that became effective in 2020 (the 2019 code).

Reach codes create opportunities for local governments to lead the way on clean air, climate solutions, and the renewable energy economy while creating roadmaps for other local governments to take action as well. Example local codes that improved upon the statewide California building code, e.g., for outdoor lighting and building efficiency, are described in the “Buildings” sector of this toolbox. These examples and resources can inspire similar building codes in other jurisdictions and states.

Goal: California reach codes: Local ordinances that increase energy efficiency in buildings more than minimums established by the California Building Code.

Measurement: Percentage decrease in building energy use compared to California Title 24 standards

Time to Implement: Varies


California Energy Commission: Local Building Code Amendments Exceeding California Building Energy Efficiency Standards: 2005, 2008, 2013, and 2016 codes.

Local Building Code Amendments Exceeding California Building Energy Efficiency Standards: 2019 code.

Additional Information:

For examples see additional reach code actions in Buildings sector

Also see page 26 of this report: Renovating regulation to electrify buildings: A guide for the handy regulator

Contact Info:
Toll-free in California: (800) 772-3300
Outside California: (916) 654-5106

Sectors(s) Buildings
Date First Adopted Varies
Last Updated January 19, 2021
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