The city of San Mateo adopts ordinance requiring solar and cool roof installation on new construction projects.
San Mateo, CA (October 5, 2016)… Energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for the city of San Mateo. Starting January 1, 2017, San Mateo will require the installation of solar systems in all new construction projects. The city also requires cool roof installation on all new multi-family and commercial developments with low-sloped roofs.

Approved by the City Council on May 16, 2016, the energy reach code ordinance will impact new single-family, multi-family, and non-residential construction. Following approval by the San Mateo City Council, the California Energy Commission (CEC), approved the ordinance and commended San Mateo for its leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

“Congratulations to the City of San Mateo City Council for providing leadership in this area,” said California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister. “We want to highlight what San Mateo is doing to encourage other local governments to go forward to help the State achieve its energy goals.”

The ordinance aligns with the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). San Mateo City Council adopted the CAP in 2015. San Mateo’s climate action plan directs the city to develop policies to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and includes energy efficiency measures to require new buildings to incorporate renewable energy readiness.

“Requiring solar and cool roofs on new construction reflects San Mateo’s vision for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction,” said Mayor Joe Goethals. “This ordinance is an important milestone in realizing the objectives of the Climate Action Plan.”

The new ordinance outlines local amendments to the 2016 California Energy Code, Title 24, Chapter 6. Starting January 1, 2017, all new construction must install a minimum size solar photovoltaic installation. As an alternative, projects may provide a solar hot water (solar thermal) system with a minimum collector area of 40 square feet. In addition to the solar panel requirement, the ordinance also includes a cool roof requirement for non-residential and high-rise multi-family residential buildings. A cool roof simply requires a lighter color to be installed on low-sloped roofs to reflect more sun and less energy for cooling buildings.

The new Energy Reach Code Ordinance # 2016-5 was developed in tandem with a comprehensive cost-effectiveness study, which was required by the California Energy Code. The study outlines that the measures included in the ordinance are fiscally responsible. The minimum size systems required are very small, and most projects typically exceed that requirement. The idea behind the requirement is that by mandating solar installation, the owner or project developer will be incentivized to right-size the system themselves based on the site and building requirements to maximize cost effectiveness.

For questions and information on the new ordinance, please contact Kathy Kleinbaum, Interim Deputy City Manager, (650) 522-7153.

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