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.

  1. RECO Requirements 

  2. Rebates for RECO Measures

  3. RECO Forms 

  4. Knob and Tube Safety Information  

  5. Getting RECO Work Completed

  6. Schedule an Inspection 

  7. RECO Spending Limits

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.

Back to top


 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.

 Back to top


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: reco@cityofberkeley.info 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.

Back to top   


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:

  1.  Hire a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring prior to installing any attic insulation
  2. Certify that the wiring is safe to insulate around by filling out Knob and Tube Wiring Safety Inspection Report
  3.  Submit Knob and Tube Wiring Safety Inspection Report with your RECO Form A
  4. 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.

Back to top   


5. Getting RECO Work Completed  

Back to top  


6. Schedule an Inspection: To schedule an appointment with Berkeley's Building & Safety Office email reco@cityofberkeley.info 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 - from inspector)

Back to top  


7. RECO Spending Limits: For properties undergoing renovations of $50,000 or more, spending limit for RECO measures is 1% of renovation costs.

Back to top  


See general RECO information at www.cityofberkeley.info/RECO

Back to the Office of Energy and Sustainable Development Homepage