Every three years the California Building Code receives updates. The last update was published in 2019 and the upcoming amendment is due by the end of next year. One notable proposed change is in regards to the requirement of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in new, non-residential developments.
We previously reported on this a few months ago, however, there are new changes to the proposed amendment to the California Green Building Standards for the upcoming new code cycle.
Required EV Charging Stations in the 2022 Building Code
The previous revision to the upcoming building code only required one (1) EV charging station at new, non-residential developments. After further discussion, workshops, and cost analysis, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) have proposed a new amendment.
In short, CBSC proposes the requirement of Level 2 EV charging stations at a minimum of 5% of the parking (26 spaces or more) at new, non-residential sites. The amendment stipulates developers may avoid five Level 2 charging stations with the installation of one DC Fast Charging station of at least 50 kW. In addition, CBSC proposes to increase the amount of EV Capable (infrastructure only) stalls from 10% to 20% of the total parking count.
Altogether, the total amount of EV spaces, EV charging stations plus EV Capable, would increase from 10% from the 2019 code to 25% from the proposed 2021 code. Here is an excerpt from the required EV charging stations proposed amendment:
BSC is moving forward with the CARB suggested changes and proposes to include a mandatory requirement for 5% of new parking spaces to be equipped with Level 2 charging stations (electric vehicle supply equipment or EVSE, rated at 208/240 Volts with a 40 amp supply circuit) in new nonresidential buildings with 26 or more parking spaces. The existing code requires 10% of actual parking spaces be equipped with EV capable spaces (EV infrastructure). A recent analysis shows that roughly 30% of existing Electric Vehicle (EV) capable spaces are being converted to EV chargers see attachment A. Therefore, the proposed provisions require Level 2 EVSE chargers be installed at the time of new construction. The proposed mandate will increase visibility and availability of Level 2 chargers. This code changes is necessary to support the implementation of 5 million ZEVs by 2030, and to achieve 100% sales of electric vehicles by 2035.California Building Standards Commission
There are also other notable EV related changes to the upcoming building code. One is the proposed requirement of EV charging for medium and heavy duty vehicles. This will soon be necessary to convert large vehicles to EVs such as transport or garbage vehicles. Also, there is a proposed removal of “Clean Air Vehicle” parking requirements as the required EV charging stations make them redundant.
Supporting Executive Orders Justifying the Required EV Charging Stations
The proposed amendment cites several executive orders that justify the new revisions to the building code. Per Attachment A of the Initial Statement of Reasons:
CBSC’s proposed action will support the implementation of the Governor’s Executive Orders B-16-2012, B-48-2018 and N-79-20 to achieve a benchmark for having over 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roadways by 2025, 5 million ZEVs on California roadways by 2030, and 100% sales of electric vehicles by 2035, respectively. Per the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) recent AB 2127 staff report1, California has a gap in the number of level 2 chargers expected to be installed by 2025 to support California’s 1.5 million ZEV target under Executive Order B-16-2012. This gap widens significantly when looking at 2030 and longer time horizons.California Building Standards Commission
As you can see, the CBSC proposal to require EV charging stations is justified from several of Governor Brown’s and Governor Newsom’s Executive Orders.
Greenhouse Gas Savings from the Required EV Charging Stations
Within Attachment A are several explanations of why requiring EV charging stations at new, non-residential developments can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is of particular interest to the California Air Resource Board (CARB), as that agency oversees the state’s air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals.
By requiring EV charging stations, it is estimated that between 409,000 to 516,000 metric tons of CO2e would be reduced annually. That is a lot of GHG emissions. To put that into perspective, using data from the EPA, that is the equivalent of removing the emissions from 100,000 internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV), or gas cars, each and every year. Evidently, just by requiring 5% of parking stalls to have EV charging stations can have a significant impact on emissions.
Cost Impacts From the Required EV Charging Stations
Also included in Attachment A are estimated cost impacts by proposed EV charging amendments. Per the cost analysis, it is estimated that it will cost developers between 0.2% to 0.9% to the total project cost. By installing EV charging stations during new construction, the site owner can expect to save a significant amount of money as opposed to a retrofit installation. On a statewide basis, by requiring EV charging stations during new construction, an estimated net benefit is calculated to be $434 to $900 million.
Furthermore, the developer or owner can pass these additional costs off to the consumer–albeit less than 1% of the total project cost. With a networked charging station, the EV driver can be charged a fee to use the chargers, which over time can recoup the cost of the installation.
Increasing the cost of construction is usually not a great concept, however, per the justifications provided in the Attachment A, it is a reasonable amendment to the new building code. As EVs become more and more popular, the need for charging stations increases equally. In fact, as of 2020, EV market share in California reached an all-time high of 9%. It is expected that the adoption rate of EVs will continue to rise each and every year for the foreseeable future.
If adopted, the required EV charging stations requirement would be the first in the nation. This would certainly set a precedent for other states looking to bolster their EV targets.
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