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2020 SPUR Impact Awards: Building Reach Code Team Helps San José Go Carbon Neutral

Left to Right: Julie Benabente, Ken Davies, Ron Davis, James Son

The 2020 SPUR Impact Awards recognize outstanding job performance by public sector leaders in Santa Clara County.

In response to the impacts of climate change, the City of San José adopted a Paris Climate Agreement-aligned climate action plan, Climate Smart San José. Approved by City Council in February of 2018, Climate Smart’s goals include all new residential (by 2020) and commercial (by 2030) buildings be zero net carbon, 1 gigawatt solar installations by 2040, and 61 percent of passenger vehicles be electric by 2030.

To meet the goals of Climate Smart San José, the Building Reach Code team created new building requirements to further building electrification and now requires electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVCI) and solar readiness for new construction projects in San José. With the City’s approved reach code ordinance and its natural gas ban ordinance—which together incentivize or require all-electric construction, depending on the building type—the City can eliminate an estimated 897,000 tons of greenhouse gas (equivalent to 1.7 trillion car miles driven) over the next 50 years.

Supported by a connected goal of achieving 100 percent carbon-free base power from San José Clean Energy by 2021, the City adopted a building reach code focused on building electrification, EVCI, and solar readiness to address all three of these stated goals and metrics within the City’s timeline. San José is the first major U.S. city to require that new buildings be gas-free.

Learn about our other 2020 honorees:

Senator Jim Beall Creates Solutions to California's Toughest Problems

Rebecca Garcia Helps Provide Housing and Shelter for All

Ed Solis Transforms Streets Into Public Space for Everyone

SJSU's CommUniverCity Team Partners with City Residents to Support Community-Based Planning