Reach Code Awards | SSMC

Reach Code Awards


Contact: Christine Kohl-Zaugg, 650-918-1992,; or

Terry Nagel, 650-678-7082 or

5 Local Jurisdictions to Be Honored for Reach Codes

SAN MATEO, February 25, 2020 – Sustainable San Mateo County announced today that it will recognize the Cities of Brisbane, Menlo Park, Pacifica and San Mateo, as well as the County of San Mateo, for adopting strong, local building codes (called “Reach Codes”) that will result in safer and more comfortable buildings, increase electric vehicle readiness and reduce carbon emissions. The organization will honor them, along with other sustainability champions, during its 21st annual Sustainability Awards Dinner on Friday, July 10, 2020 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the College of San Mateo.

To date, 27 cities and counties in California and 15 in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County have approved Reach Codes, which are building codes that are more advanced than those required by the state. The local codes were developed with the assistance of Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy and will make an immediate impact on the amount of carbon emissions generated within the boundaries of local jurisdictions, helping them meet the state’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2045.

The 2017 Global Status Report ( published by the United Nations Environment and the International Energy Agency estimates that buildings and construction together account for 36 percent of global final energy use and 39 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide. Eliminating natural gas (a fossil fuel) from buildings also improves respiratory health and safety, and saves property owners money. With about 60 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in San Mateo County originating from the transportation sector (, electrifying transportation is another effective strategy to drastically cut carbon emissions.

Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC) will present the following awards to the five jurisdictions that have adopted Reach Codes: 

Brisbane – Innovation Award.  In December 2019, the Brisbane City Council unanimously adopted local Reach Codes addressing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, building electrification, on-site solar generation, and fire protection.  Brisbane’s EV Reach Codes are among the strongest in the state, and will require all new residential units (single-family and multi-family) to have at least one Level 2 EV-ready circuit, and for commercial buildings to have 25 to 50 percent electrified spaces.  Brisbane followed Menlo Park’s model for building electrification, and as of January, 1, 2021, will require new, all-electric buildings, with exceptions for natural gas cooking and fireplaces in residential units, and life science buildings in the commercial sector.  Aside from building electrification, the City’s Reach Codes went into effect January 1, 2020, and included the City extending previously-adopted Reach Codes for on-site solar generation and fire protection.

Menlo Park – Regional Impact Award. Menlo Park was the first city to replace incentives with a requirement to go all-electric with new homes, commercial buildings and high-rise multi-family buildings as part of its Reach Code, setting a citywide standard stronger than what other local cities had been considering: a gas-free policy with just a few exceptions. Since then, more than 15 California municipalities have followed Menlo Park’s lead.

Pacifica – Fast Track Award. Pacifica’s leaders acted quickly and decisively to adopt a Reach Code. They took advantage of a Peninsula Clean Energy grant that provided model codes and technical assistance to municipalities throughout the county to refine and adopt their Reach Code. Pacifica’s City Council unanimously adopted the city’s Reach Code on its first reading in November 2019.

San Mateo – Trailblazer Award. The City of San Mateo was the first city in San Mateo County to adopt local Reach Codes for the 2016 Code Cycle and was ready to lead the way again for the 2019 Code Cycle. In September 2019, the city adopted Reach Codes that encourage building electrification, require solar installation and enhance electric vehicle readiness requirements. These Reach Codes went into effect on January 1, 2020. Other cities are using San Mateo’s ordinance as a model for implementing best practices and standards.

The County of San Mateo will be awarded a Leadership Award for its tireless efforts and remarkable commitment toward promoting strong Reach Codes throughout the County. Not only did the County assist Cities in their Reach Codes adoption, it also led by example by adopting the strongest Reach Code to date in San Mateo County.

Tickets for SSMC’s Sustainability Awards Dinner are available at or on the PayBee app at

Sustainable San Mateo County’s mission is to drive impactful action on economic, environmental and social equity issues that leads to sustainable practices and improves the long-term health of San Mateo County. Founded in 1992, it is a nonprofit public benefit corporation with 501(c)(3) status. For more information, visit

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