Reach Codes

The City of San Mateo is committed to being a climate leader and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our community. The development and adoption of amendments to the green building code, also known as “reach codes” can help reduce emissions by requiring all-electric construction and enhancing electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Below is information about current reach codes, that are effective for the 2022 Code Cycle (Jan. 1, 2023 - Dec. 31, 2025). 

Why is building electrification and electric vehicle readiness important?

Building electrification refers to the transition from gas equipment to electric equipment for space and water heating, clothes drying, cooking and more. Phasing out the use of fossil gas (also known as natural gas) in buildings is extremely important because fossil gas is a fossil fuel that is primarily composed of methane. Fossil gas contributes emissions with a very high global warming potential. There are also health and safety concerns associated with the use of fossil gas in homes. In contrast, the City's electricity provider, Peninsula Clean Energy, supplies 100% greenhouse gas free electricity to the community. 

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is key to encourage electric vehicle adoption. Transportation accounts for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in San Mateo. The availability of home charging is specifically important because the lack of at-home charging is considered the primary barrier to EV adoption.

Green Building Reach Codes

Reach Codes for Home Renovations

The reach codes below are implemented starting Jan. 1, 2023 when a permit is issued by the City of San Mateo for home renovations that include the following elements:

Reach CodeImpacted BuildingsReach Code Requirements for Remodels
Electric-readiness: panel capacityOne- and two-family dwellings and townhouses, duplexes and multifamily buildings
Requires panel replacement and panel upgrade projects to include panel capacity/breaker space for future electrification

Electric-readiness: outlets installed
One- and two-family dwellings and townhouses and duplexes
Requires all residential kitchen and laundry renovations include installation of an outlet to allow for the use of electric appliances in the future

Heat pump air conditioning
One- and two-family dwellings and townhouses and duplexes

Requires installation of electric air conditioning when new air conditioning is installed or replaced

New gas infrastructure
One- and two-family dwellings and townhouses, duplexes, and multifamily buildings

Prohibits the extension of fuel gas infrastructure for uses such as new fireplaces, fire pits, grills, and pools

Heat pump water heaters
One- and two-family dwellings and townhouses and duplexes

Requires heat pump water heater installation during addition and alteration projects that include water heater replacement 

Reach Codes for New Construction

All-electric new construction:

Currently, the City of San Mateo’s building electrification reach code requires the new construction of all residential buildings and office buildings be all-electric. The updated reach code requires all new construction to be all-electric. Commercial kitchens and biotech laboratories can apply for exceptions.

Enhanced electric vehicle requirements for new construction:

The updated reach code requires enhanced electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for new construction projects above the State requirements, as shown in the table below.

Reach Code Requirements 
One- and Two-Family Dwellings and TownhousesOne Level 2 EV Ready space per dwelling unit; 
one Level 1 EV Ready space if second space provided

Multifamily Buildings15% Level 2 EVCS
85% Level 2 EV Ready (low-power)
Total: 100% of spaces

Commercial BuildingsOffice Use
20% Level 2 EVCS
30% Level 2 EV Capable
Total: 50% of spaces
All Other Uses
10% Level 2 EVCS
10% Level 2 EV Capable
Total: 20% of spaces

Related Resources