Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

RECO: Residential Property Sold or Transferred

Effective December 1, 2015, Berkeley's Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO) will replace both the Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO and CECO). The transition from RECO/CECO to BESO will occur between October 9, 2015 and December 1, 2015. Effective October 9, 2015, RECO/CECO deferrals are no longer available. For more information about the transition from RECO/CECO to BESO, see

RECO compliance must be completed within one year of the date of sale.

 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
  • 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 California Youth Energy Services, 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:  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: 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:

  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. 

5. Getting RECO Work Done
  • You may hire a contractor, see for a list of contractors who are qualified to apply for rebates.
  • You may do the RECO work yourself (see RECO Compliance Guide).
  • If insulation is needed for RECO compliance, apply for a building permit

6. Schedule Inspection 

Community Energy Services Corporation (CESC) conducts all RECO inspections. Call 510-981-9819 to schedule an appointment, or check the CESC web page for more information. 

Inspection and Filing Costs Mail or deliver all documents to: City of Berkeley Permit Service Center, 2120 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA  94704

  • Sale/Transfer of Property: initial RECO inspection is $100 for a single-family unit, plus $50 for each additional unit.
  • Re-inspection: $50 for a single-family unit, plus $25 for each additional unit  (If your building does not receive approval on the first inspection, you will have to rectify the non-complying items and schedule a re-inspection.)
  • Filing: $20 Send payment with Certificate of RECO Compliance (Form A - from inspector)

7. RECO Spending Limits
There is a limit to the amount of money that must be spent to meet RECO upgrades.  You need not spend more than:

  • 0.75% of the final property sales price when a single structure of two housing units or less is sold
  • 0.75% of the final property sales price for each structure when a property with more than one structure of two housing units or less is sold
  • $0.50 per square foot when any one structure with three or more housing units is sold

8. Live/Work vs. Work/Live Determinations

See general RECO Information at:  

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