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Residential Water Heating Ordinance

The City of Carlsbad’s Climate Action Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the installation of solar water heaters or heat pumps. In pursuit of the goals established by the Climate Action Plan, the city has adopted a water heating ordinance which requires cost-effective water heating measures to be included on all new construction projects.

Why did Carlsbad pass this ordinance?

Home energy use accounts for about 25 percent of Carlsbad’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015, the city adopted its Climate Action Plan, which included a greenhouse gas reduction measure to install solar water heaters or heat pumps or use alternative (non-fossil fuel) energy for water heating needs on all new residential construction. This measure was identified to support the goal of reducing community greenhouse gas emissions by 11,604 MTCO2e by 2035. This ordinance requires new residential developments to include specified energy efficient water heating measures. The measures included in this ordinance have been proven to be cost-effective and align with the requirements of 2019 Title 24, Part 6.

Who is required to comply with this ordinance?

Developers of all new low-rise residential construction projects need to install non-gas water heating equipment in their projects.

What are the requirements of this ordinance?

The residential water heating ordinance requires new low-rise residential buildings to install cost-effective water heating measures. Required measures include a water heating system that meets one of the following requirements:

  • Heat pump water heater, or other form of electric water heating system, that meets California Energy Code (Title 24, Part 6) standards and is paired with a ≥0.3KW (300W) photovoltaic system
    or
    Solar water heating system that is OG-300 certified and includes ≥40 sq. ft. of collectors or provides a 0.6 solar fraction.

When does this ordinance take effect?

The residential water heating ordinance will be implemented when the 2019 building code (Title 24) standards are adopted. The 2019 standards will include a requirement for residential photovoltaic systems, which will support the water heating measures identified in the ordinance. Therefore, the proposed effective date for this ordinance is January 1, 2020. New residential projects which have not applied for building permits by this date will be subject to the ordinance requirements.