In order to achieve the dream of truly sustainable cities, neighborhoods, and homes, those involved in green building must employ big picture thinking. Visions of the future must focus on infrastructure, ensuring that all aspects of a home or office building are ready to support all aspects of a greener life.

In Palo Alto, that means creating homes that are electric car-ready. In the US, adoption of electric vehicles has been slower than many would like, mostly due to price and the lack of a nationwide charging infrastructure. The California city hopes to save homeowners some money (and speed the development of said infrastructure) by requiring all new residential construction to be pre-wired for electric vehicle charging stations.

EV Charging Station
Image via dahlstroms

The Palo Alto City Council recently passed a new ordinance that changed the building code to include a residential EV charging requirement. The Council’s decision was unanimous, and ultimately, meant to save homeowners money.

According to Building Green, “Palo Alto officials say it is more difficult and costly to add wiring for an electric-car charging station after a house is built than to pre-wire a new home.” When the necessary wiring is included at the time of construction, “The cost is often under $200 for a new home, or four times less than what it runs to install a charger at an existing home,” Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff told San Jose Mercury News.

The ordinance, which stipulates that new residences be ready to accommodate 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations, is part of a city-wide effort to streamline the permitting process for installing a charger at a residential or commercial building.

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