Carlsbad’s City Council introduced new ordinances that will help the city be more sustainable by achieving the goals set in the Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
The plan, which was adopted as part of the city’s General Plan Update in 2015, is a long-range strategy to maximize energy conservation and reduce emissions from vehicles. The new ordinances apply to new commercial and industrial developments as well as to major renovations to existing developments.
The plan’s goals emerged from the community’s Envision Carlsbad process, which made sustainability one of the City of Carlsbad’s core values.
The ordinances include the Energy Conservation, Photovoltaic and Water Heating Ordinances; the Electric Vehicle Ordinance; and the Transportation Demand Management Ordinance.
In drafting ordinances to meet the Climate Action Plan goals, city staff have kept a close watch on cost-effectiveness, with an eye on long-term social, environmental and economic benefits. The city conducted financial analyses to ensure that the ordinances would not only save energy, but would save long-term costs as well.
The ordinances, which were introduced on Feb. 26, directly affect future development, and will affect residents directly or indirectly. These are still subject to California Energy Commission final approval.
The Energy Conservation, Photovoltaic and Water Heating Ordinances
This ordinance requires that new commercial construction include solar water heaters or heat pumps, and additional energy efficiency measures. These devices will reduce energy consumption and cost, with no loss of efficiency. While this ordinance directly applies to new nonresidential development, it will also apply to major remodels of existing residential and nonresidential buildings.
The Electric Vehicle Ordinance
Nearly 40 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and trucks, so the Climate Action Plan ordinances will aim to reduce these emissions by increasing the miles driven by zero-emission vehicles. The ordinance will require that new commercial and industrial buildings, and new residential units, including some residential renovations, set aside 10 percent of parking spaces, or at least one space, for electric vehicles, and that those spaces be equipped with charging stations. This will help assure residents who drive electric vehicles that they will have a space to recharge their vehicles at their place of employment.
The Transportation Demand Management Ordinance
This ordinance seeks to reduce emissions by decreasing the number of employees who drive to work alone. The ordinance’s goal is a 10 percent increase in the number of workers in Carlsbad who use public transit or other means of transportation. The city will provide support to businesses to adopt plans and programs to achieve this goal, and has put together a handbook with tips and tools to help businesses develop their transportation demand management plans. These tips include employer-provided financial incentives and site improvements to help encourage alternate commuting choices.
With these changes, the City Council is aiming to reduce the reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles and equipment over the long run, thus providing long-term energy savings to businesses and improving city residents’ quality of life.
The full text of the ordinances is available on the City of Carlsbad website.
Mike Grim, email@example.com, 760-602-4623
Energy Conservation Ordinance and Electric Vehicle Charging infrastructure Ordinance Staff Report, Feb. 26, 2019 (pages 188 - 261)