New buildings in unincorporated parts of Santa Clara County will be required to install all-electric appliances and heating systems, as well as include infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, in accordance with a new county ordinance that goes further than state requirements related to climate change.

The ordinance modifies the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code and the 2019 California Energy Code, which allow cities and counties to adopt local energy amendments. Known as “reach codes,” the ordinances go beyond state minimum requirements to encourage electrification of buildings. Nearly all incorporated areas of the county have adopted such codes.

Los Altos and Los Altos Hills both have adopted similar codes. The new ordinance, approved by the Board of Supervisors last month, would apply to such local areas as the San Antonio Hills, Loyola and Country Club neighborhoods.

According to the ordinance, all new construction will be required to use electricity and not natural gas for water heating, space heating, cooking, clothes drying, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and decorative appliances. 

New dwellings also are required to include wiring that will facilitate installation of battery storage for additional resiliency, cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability.

“This is clearly in line with our Climate Action Plan and will help us reach our goal to achieve 100% carbon neutrality by 2045,” said Supervisor Otto Lee.