Reach codes set for Tues. meeting

Los Altos City Council members are scheduled to consider the approval of controversial reach codes at their meeting Tuesday.

The codes, also called the Building Electrification and Enhanced EV Infrastructure ordinance, would require all-electric design in new construction and installation of additional electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. The building standard requirements “reach” beyond the state minimum mandates for higher energy efficiency in design and construction.

The proposed ordinance has generated vigorous debate. The chief issue is discontinuance of natural gas use, which opponents cite as a natural gas ban. Detractors contend that many people prefer natural gas for cooking, and all-electric homes are more expensive to operate. Proponents see it as a positive step in the fight against climate change because natural gas, according to city estimates, accounts for 35% of all greenhouse gases produced in Los Altos.

City officials have continually emphasized that the codes impact only newly constructed buildings – approximately 40-50 residential homes per year on average.

“If you are planning a remodel, tenant improvement or appliance/equipment replacement, the reach codes will not affect your project,” said Emiko Ancheta, the city’s sustainability coordinator.

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