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Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance

The City of Carlsbad’s Climate Action Plan seeks to improve the energy efficiency of residential buildings and establish an ordinance to disclose and conserve energy use in existing buildings. In pursuit of the goals established by the Climate Action Plan, the city has adopted a residential energy conservation ordinance, which requires residential property owners to meet specified cost-effective energy efficiency measures during a major renovation.

Who is required to comply with this ordinance?

All residential property owners conducting a major renovation with a permit valued at $60,000 or greater must comply with the energy conservation ordinance. The permit valuation is based on the dollar per square foot multiplier found on the city’s Building Valuation Multipliers. The required measures will be based on the building’s existing conditions.

What are the requirements of this ordinance?

The residential energy conservation ordinance requires residential buildings to install cost-effective energy efficiency measures. For homes built before 1978, required measures include improvements to the ducts, attic insulation, or roofing material. For newer homes, the required measures include improvements to water heating or lighting systems. Some exceptions apply; please refer to the ordinance text for more information.

Required Measures


 Existing Conditions
Ventilation and
Cooling Ducts
Insulation with a thermal resistance (R-value) greater than or equal to R-2.1 and ³30% leakage (³25% leakage for multi-family units) 
2016 Title 24 Section 150.2(b)1E without verification by a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater.
 Attic Insulation
Insulation with an R-value of greater than or equal to R-5, vented attic
 Insulation with an R-value of R-38
 Cool Roof
Asphalt shingles, dark (project scope includes replacement of roof)
Aged solar reflectance greater than or equal to 0.25 Thermal emittance greater than or equal to 0.75
 Water Heating
40 gal uninsulated tank No pipe insulation No low-flow fixtures
Water heater blanket with an R-value of greater than or equal to R-6 Hot water pipe insulation greater than or equal to 3/4 inch thick Low-Flow Fixtures with rated flow rates no more than CALGreen requirements
 Lighting Package
Screw-in (A-base) incandescent and halogen lamps
 Screw-in LED lamps and manual-on automatic-off vacancy sensors that meet Title 24 Section 110.9(b)4.C

Why did Carlsbad pass this ordinance?

Residential properties account for about 25 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015, the city adopted its Climate Action Plan, which included a goal to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent in 30 percent of residential properties by 2035. This equates to approximately 10,000 single-family homes and approximately 5,000 multi-family units. This ordinance addresses residential buildings looking to complete major improvement and requires these improvements to include energy efficiency upgrades. The measures included in this ordinance have been proven to be cost-effective and align with the requirements of Title 24, Part 6.

When does this ordinance take effect?

The ordinance was adopted by the City Council on March 12, 2019 and was forwarded to the California Energy Commission for their review and approval. Review by the California Energy Commission is necessary to ensure that local energy-related ordinances meet or exceed statewide standards and are cost-effective. 

California Energy Commission approval is anticipated by June or July of 2019. Building permit applications made after the ordinance takes effect will need to meet the new requirements.

Additional Resources