Sunnyvale, CA Solar Heating Code

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Sunnyvale, CA, US

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Type: Municipal Code

Status: Adopted via ordinance #2020-81

Source File:


Chapter 16.46. SOLAR HEATING

16.46.010. Findings.
The city council finds that due to present and anticipated costs and uncertain availability of conventionally-produced energy supplies, the public health, safety and welfare will be served by requiring installation of solar water heating systems as defined herein. Affected properties will benefit during the useful life of such systems through reduced consumption of energy for domestic purposes. The city council further finds that installation and operation of solar heating systems as defined herein will be cost-effective, within the meaning of California Public Resources Code Section 25402.1.

16.46.020. Definitions.

(1) “Solar water heating system” shall mean any solar collector or other solar energy device or arrangement of devices, the primary function of which is to collect, store and distribute solar energy for heating water used for domestic purposes.

(2) “Residential buildings” shall mean buildings designed for occupancy by one or more families, whether in detached or multiple-family attached configurations. No distinction shall be made between rental, ownership or other forms of tenancy, for purposes of this chapter.

(3) “Primary means of heating” shall mean designed to heat to at least one hundred twenty degrees (Fahrenheit) a minimum of fifty-one percent of that average amount of domestic hot water predicted for residential structures of similar size and type, as specified in those “Energy Conservation Standards for New Residential Buildings,” as amended, promulgated by the California Energy Commission pursuant to applicable provisions of the California Public Resources Code. The chief building official is authorized and directed to provide current copies of such formulae and standards as may be required by affected applicants for permits.

16.46.030. Solar water heater requirement for new residential construction.

(a) Any other provision of this title to the contrary notwithstanding, no building permit shall be issued by the department of community development for a new residential building as specified in paragraph (b) hereof unless said building’s design includes a solar energy system as the primary means of heating domestic potable water. Such system designs shall conform to the technical requirements of Chapter 16.42 of this title.

(b) The terms of subdivision (a) shall become operative for permits for construction of residential buildings applied for on or after January 1, 1982, provided, however, that if the California Energy Commission has not made those findings required by California Public Resources Code Section 25402.1(f)(2) prior to said date, then the terms of subdivision (a) shall become operative upon receipt by the director of community development of such findings.

(c) All design features required pursuant to this section shall be indicated in the proposed building plans as part of a complete design for a solar energy system as the primary means of heating all domestic potable water to be consumed in the proposed structure.

16.46.040. Exemptions.
The director of community development may grant an exemption from the requirements contained in this chapter when any of the following conditions exist:

(a) Lack of solar access: When topographic conditions, adjacent structures (or probable adjacent development allowed by existing zoning), existing trees on or surrounding the residential site, or location of the solar collection system preclude effective use of a solar energy system due to shading; or

(b) Not cost-effective: Solar water heating is not cost-effective for the owner if the present value lifecycle cost, as established annually by the city, over twenty years for solar water heating is greater than that for any other commercially available water heating technology which is or shall be used at the site.

16.46.050. Administration.

(a) The provisions of this chapter shall be administered pursuant to the terms of Chapters 16.04, 16.08 and 16.12 of this code. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as a revision or amendment to the provisions set forth therein.

(b) Appeals of decisions of the director of community development or authorized officials acting on his behalf shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures specified in Chapter 16.08 of this code.