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Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica Zero Net Energy Building Reach Codes

Project Challenges:

California continues to set bold new energy goals, including a recent Zero Net Energy (ZNE) mandate for new residential construction by 2020 and new commercial construction by 2030. As the state marches toward this objective, cities are becoming energy efficiency and climate leaders towards this goal—adopting and implementing building “reach codes” that require better energy performance than the state.

TRC Solutions:

In 2016, TRC partnered with the City of Santa Monica and Southern California Edison (SCE) to set a reach code goal for the City, gain community support for the vision, and conduct analyses that demonstrated reach code cost-effectiveness for local residents. By October 2016, the City Council voted to approve two reach codes governing new construction:

  • Single family homes and low-rise multifamily buildings must consume 15% less energy than statewide 2016 standards, then use on-site renewables to offset utility consumption over year and achieve ZNE
  • Nonresidential buildings, hotels, and high-rise apartments must consume 10% less energy than statewide 2016 standards

Santa Monica’s Reach Codes went into effect on May 1, 2017. TRC is currently partnering with Southern California Edison to expand the cost-effectiveness analysis done for Santa Monica to the rest of the state, so other cities can justify their adoption of similar reach codes.


Santa Monica’s ZNE Reach Code, which is the first in California, is also the first of its kind in the world. The Reach Code ushers in a host of new high performance building stock for the City, and is a key part of the Santa Monica’s goal to become a carbon-neutral city by 2050.

The Santa Monica Reach Code is also an important contribution to the state’s ZNE and efficiency objectives. And by implementing ZNE requirements early through the Reach Code, the local building industry has a head start in adapting—enabling them to become more efficient and potentiallly gaining more work as a result.

Santa Monica is proud to take a global lead in zero-net energy building standards that put the State’s environmental policy to action.” – Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez


City of Santa Monica and Southern California Edison (SCE)

Project Location

Santa Monica, CA

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