Palo Alto Goes Beyond CA Energy Policy: Getting to Net Zero In Palo Alto

May 19, 2016

The City of Palo Alto recently approved the city’s first Zero Net Energy ready policy. The “Energy Reach Code” outlines local amendments to the 2016 California Energy Code, Title 24, Chapter 6. The Development Services Department and the city’s Green Building Advisory Group teamed up to craft the requirements. Although the state of California has some very ambitious NZE goals, Palo Alto is the first city in the state to develop an incremental policy with the intent of exceeding the state goals.

For more information on the development of the Energy Reach Code ordinance, please view the video below.

The Palo Alto City Council unanimously approved the policy on May 2nd, 2016. The Palo Alto New Energy Reach Code Ordinance offers a path for residential and commercials projects with and without solar panels, and requires all new construction to exceed state energy code standards by ten to twenty percent, depending on project type.

Even as Net Zero buildings have become more common and more affordable to build, there is still a lack of easily accessible information to guide homeowners, designers, and builders through the process. Empowering people with the knowledge necessary to build an NZE building is an important part of the Palo Alto plan.

ID360, as a strategy consultant for the city, has provided the expertise in green building policy to develop and implement the Energy Reach Code Ordinance. “The City of Palo Alto is committed to sustainability and zero net energy,” said Melanie Jacobson, Principal of Integrated Design 360. "We look forward to assisting the City in implementing this innovative and ambitious ordinance."

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