City of Berkeley - Energy Conservation Ordinance

April 22, 2016


Note: The City Council adopted a resolution in September 2013 requiring staff to initiate a public process to update the City's existing Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO) and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinance (CECO) laws. This process resulted in the adoption of BESO, which will replace RECO and CECO on December 1, 2015 (starting on October 9, sellers have the choice of complying with RECO or BESO). The summary below describes Berkeley's building requirements in their current form.

The City of Berkeley has an ordinance requiring certain energy conservation measures to be installed in residential and commercial properties upon the sale of the building or major renovations over $50,000 in valuation. 

The Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO) requires the ceiling insulation to be R-30, sealed and insulated furnace ducts, insulated water heaters and hot water pipes, weatherstripping around all exterior doors, improved the lighting efficiency, and improved water efficiency. These measures must be installed by the seller at the time of sale, and the seller and/or licensed real estate agent or broker handling the sale is responsible for compliance with this code. The maximum required expenditure to bring a residential structure into compliance is three-quarters of one percent of the final sale price for a structure not containing more than two units. The maximum expenditure for structures containing three units or more is fifty cents per square foot. The maximum expenditure in the case of renovation of fifty thousand dollars or more is one percent of the renovation costs. Any required measures not installed as a result of the spending cap must be installed during future sales or renovations to the property until all measures have been installed.

The Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinance (CECO) requires commercial property owners selling or renovating their property to install a variety of energy conservation measures for HVAC equipment, water systems, lighting, commercial refrigeration equipment, motor-driven equipment and the building envelope. The maximum total cost of the energy conservation measures to be installed upon sale of a commercial building is the lesser of one percent of the assessed value prior to sale or one hundred fifty thousand dollars. Upon subsequent sales of the building, any remaining energy conservation measures shall be installed subject again to the expenditure limit. The maximum cost for measures installed upon a major renovation is the lesser of five percent of the total construction cost or one percent of the assessed value of the entire building prior to the renovation.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: California
Incentive Type: Building Energy Code
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Equipment Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Caulking/Weather-stripping
  • Duct/Air sealing
  • Building Insulation
  • Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building


Name: Berkeley Municipal Code 19.72
Name: Berkeley Municipal Code 19.16
Name: CECO Self-Audit Guide
Name: RECO Compliance Guide


Name: Public Information Officer
Address: 2120 Milvia Street
Berkeley CA 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7762

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.