RECO: Renovation of Property
All homes or apartment buildings with a combined value of $50,000 or more in renovations must demonstrate compliance with RECO regulations by being inspected by and filing Form A- Certificate of RECO Compliance- with the City of Berkeley. RECO compliance is the responsibility of the building permit applicant, which in most cases is the property owner.
Transitioning from RECO to BESO
Effective October 9th, 2015, Berkeley's Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO) will replace both the Residential & Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO and CECO) and compliance forms and inspections will no longer be required at time of building renovation. Prior to that time, RECO and CECO requirements for measures on plans and inspections in the field remain in effect. For more information, see: www.cityofberkeley.info/BESO
1. RECO Requirements: Specific details are on RECO Form A Appendix. A general outline of required upgrades follows:
- Toilets -- 1.6 gal/flush, or flow reduction devices
- Showerheads -- 3.0 gal./minute flow rate. Available free from EBMUD
- Faucet aerators -- 2.75 gal./minute flow rate for kitchens and bathrooms. Available free from EBMUD
- Water heater blankets -- Insulation wrap of R-12 value
- Hot & Cold Water Piping -- Insulate the first two feet from the heater to R-3 value
- Hot Water Piping in Pumped, Re-circulating Heating Systems -- Insulate all pipes to R-3 value
- Exterior Door Weatherstripping -- Permanently affix weather stripping, and door sweeps or door shoes
- Furnace duct work -- Seal duct joints add insulation wrap to R-3 value
- Fireplace chimneys -- Must have dampers, doors or closures
- Ceiling insulation -- Insulate to R-30 value or greater (see Knob and Tube Wiring Information for safety tips)
- Common Area Lighting (multi-unit buildings) -- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) of at least 25 lumens. CFLs will save up to 75% per year of the lighting portion of your electricity costs. A 20-watt CFL is equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb in output. Use a CFL that is 1/4 the watts of the bulb you are replacing to keep the light levels the same.
2. Rebates for RECO Measures: Check the following sites for more information on residential conservation services.
- Energy Upgrade CA, local and state energy-saving rebates up to $4,000 and contractor listings
- EBMUD East Bay Municipal Utilities District, check website to see water conservation services.
- PG&E Pacific Gas and Electric, check website to see energy conservation services.
- CYES Program (California Youth Energy Service) a program of Rising Sun Energy Center, check website for information on both water and energy-saving measures for your home.
3. RECO Forms: All RECO forms are located at: www.cityofberkeley.info/RECO or at the Planning Department Frequently Requested Forms.
To find out if a building is in compliance with RECO, contact the City’s Building and Safety Department via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org The City maintains records for each residential property in Berkeley. If further assistance is required, call 510-981-7440 and listen for the RECO option. Please have the property address ready.
4. Knob and Tube Safety Information: Knob and Tube wiring is common in older homes. If your home has Knob and Tube wiring in the attic, you must:
- Hire a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring prior to installing any attic insulation
- Certify that the wiring is safe to insulate around by filling out Knob and Tube Wiring Safety Inspection Report
- Submit Knob and Tube Wiring Safety Inspection Report with your RECO Form A
- Review Safety Measures that follow:
- Wiring that fails a safety inspection should never be insulated. Doing so could cause a catastrophic fire, threatening the lives of those in the home. Upgrade poor wiring, including junction boxes and splices that may overheat if surrounded with insulation.
- Never use foil-faced batts or metal supports if knob and tube wiring is present; to do so could cause arcing, short-circuiting, and/or fire.
- Existing insulation that meets the current RECO code is exempt. However, if additional insulation is needed to bring the current level of insulation into compliance, an inspection and written certification is required
5. Getting RECO Work Completed
- You may hire a contractor, see www.energyupgradeca.org for a list of contractors who are qualified to apply for rebates.
- You may do the RECO work yourself (please see RECO Compliance Guide)
- If insulation is needed for RECO compliance, apply for a building permit
6. Schedule an Inspection: To schedule an appointment with Berkeley's Building & Safety Office email email@example.com or call 510-981-7440. City building inspectors will incorporate the RECO inspection into the comprehensive building code compliance inspection.
Inspection Costs: Mail or deliver all documents to City of Berkeley Permit Service Center, 2120 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
- Renovation of a Property: initial RECO inspection fee is included in the City's construction permit fees
- Filing: $20 Send payment with Certificate of RECO Compliance (Form A - received from inspector)
7. RECO Spending Limits: For properties undergoing renovations of $50,000 or more, spending limit for RECO measures is 1% of renovation costs.
More information: See general RECO information at www.cityofberkeley.info/RECO
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