“In Santa Monica we are moving away from buildings powered by fossil fuels in favor of clean and cost-effective solar energy,” states Dean Kubani, Santa Monica’s Sustainability Manager.” This is not only the smart thing to do, it is also imperative if we are to protect our kids and grandkids from the worst effects of climate change.”
The update to the Santa Monica Municipal Green Building Ordinance states:
- NEW SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS are required to install a solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system, with a minimum total wattage of 1.5 times the square footage of the dwelling (1.5 watts per square foot). That means a 2,000 square foot home would need a 3 kilowatt system, which is a typical size already seen on many homes.
- NEW MULTI-FAMILY DWELLINGS and NON-RESIDENTIAL, HOTEL, MOTEL are required to install a solar electric PV system, with a minimum total wattage 2.0 times the square footage of the building footprint (2.0 watts per square foot of building footprint). That means a 4-story building, with a building footprint of 10,000 square feet, would need a 20-kW system.
With the noted decreasing cost of solar, the cost-benefit ratio is strong. Case studies have shown that these requirements are estimated to increase upfront construction costs by 2.8% on average for a single family home, while reducing long term electricity costs by 65% on average, resulting in overall savings to home owners and significant reductions in carbon emissions. For multi-family homes, the numbers are 0.5% and 24% on average, respectively. And on commercial, 0.75% and 11% on average, respectively.
The ordinance is the third solar mandate in the country to take effect. Culver City began to require solar on commercial (>10,000 sq ft) in 2008, and the cities of Lancaster and Sebastopol became the first two cities to require solar in 2013; but Santa Monica’s is more demanding across the board. The City of San Francisco’s recently adopted solar mandate took effect in January 2017.
For more information about ZNE or Santa Monica’s municipal code, visit:
Office of Sustainability and the Environment (http://www.smgov.net/departments/ose/)
California Public Utilities Commission (http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/general.aspx?id=4125)
California Building Standards Commission (http://www.bsc.ca.gov/Home/CALGreen.aspx)