Santa Monica requires new single-family homes to be be net-zero energy

Cross-posted from Clean Technica, November 19th, 2016 by  

Following the approval of an ordinance on the matter by the Santa Monica (California) city council, new single-family houses built in the city will be required to be net-zero energy beginning in 2017.

The move by the Californian city puts it on a pedestal of one, as no other cities anywhere in the world have apparently passed such a requirement (yet).


In case the term “net-zero energy” is new to you, here’s a quick summary of the requirement: all new single-family homes built within city limits in Santa Monica will be required to generate at least as much energy as they use. Presumably, this would be achieved through various energy efficiency measures + renewable energy.

Since this is California that we’re talking about, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems seem very likely to factor in most of the time. Perhaps some of the new Tesla/SolarCity solar roof shingles will see wide-scale deployment in Santa Monica?

Green Car Reports provides more: “There are multiple standards for zero-net energy buildings, but the city chose to adopt one used in the 2016 California Green Building Standards Code, also known as CALGreen. Under the CALGreen standard, a building’s status as zero-net energy is based solely on the amount of renewable energy produced onsite, which incentivizes the use of renewable sources.”

Continuing: “Santa Monica’s zero-net energy mandate follows a 2008 roadmap published in 2008 by the California Public Utilities Commission as part of the agency’s first Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. It included proposals to require that all new California residential construction be zero-net energy by 2020, and all commercial construction by 2030.”

To date, though, the new Santa Monica legislation is the first in the state (or anywhere) to require new residential development be zero-net energy.