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. Visit the Reach Codes (2020-2022) web page to see the City's current green building reach codes, effective January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022. Below is information about reach codes for the 2022 building code cycle that would be effective January 1, 2023 through December 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 Starting Jan. 1, 2023

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 capacitySingle family homes, duplexes and multifamily buildings
Requires panel replacement and panel upgrade projects to include panel capacity/breaker space for future electrification

Electric-readiness: outlets installedSingle family homes and duplexesRequires 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 conditioningSingle family homes and duplexesRequires installation of heat pump air conditioning when new air conditioning is installed or replaced

Pools and outdoor equipmentSingle family homes, duplexes and multifamily buildingsProhibits the extension of fuel gas infrastructure into the backyard for uses such as fire pits, grills, and pools

Heat pump water heatersSingle family homes and duplexesRequires 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 
Single Family and Two-Family TownhomesOne 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