Why You Should Use EV-Ready Building Codes & Advantages

By October 31, 2019 Blog
Half-full parking lot of multi-unit building

As electric vehicles become increasingly common, the need for EV-ready building codes rises.

These days, there are plenty of advantages associated with offering EV-charging infrastructure on residential properties. One of the most important for contractors and landlords is that many municipalities require that properties in their jurisdictions are EV-compatible.

Discover why and how you can make sure your apartment, condo, or business qualifies as “EV-ready.”

The Growing Need for Residential Charging

For an electric vehicle, a parking spot without charging capabilities is fairly useless. After all, electric cars are generally charged overnight, so they’re ready to drive in the morning. While EV drivers may be able to time their electricity usage to make it to the closest charging station, that’s not the best approach.

When it comes to building new properties, it’s crucial that developers look towards the future. It has become abundantly clear that electric vehicles are here to stay, so it simply makes sense to accommodate their charging requirements. EV-ready building codes ensure that there won’t be a shortage of charging options as EVs become more widely adopted in the mainstream.

What Are EV-Ready Building Codes?

EV building codes are the rules and regulations that dictate how electric car charging stations must be constructed in residential and commercial buildings. They’re used to ensure the safety of a site but also used to encourage the construction of environmentally-friendly buildings that align with long-term goals of improving the environment.

The building codes associated with EV-charging stations vary depending on your location. It’s worth noting that most EV-ready building codes don’t require that you build a charging station in every parking space.

In many cases, the codes simply require that the infrastructure is in place to facilitate the possibility of a charging station in the future.

Here are some of the requirements you may find:

  • Charging stations are required only for a certain percentage of parking spaces
  • Each parking spot must have a dedicated electrical circuit with the capacity to eventually become a charging station
  • Parking spaces must have an electrical conduit and wire to run electricity to charging stations in the future
  • EV-ready marked electrical panels near parking spaces

These are just some types of EV ready building codes you may run into. In some cases, you may just need some basic electrical infrastructure in place just to make it possible to install charging equipment someday down the line. Other areas may require actual charging infrastructure.

What is an EV Ready Ordinance?

An EV ready ordinance is a law which requires that a percentage of spaces in private and/or public parking facilities be designed and built with the necessary infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles. These requirements often include the necessary space to install an EV charging station, conduit, wiring, and electrical voltage capacity.

Such ordinances have been passed in cities across the country, such as Palo Alto, and Boulder. In Atlanta, as of 2017, 20 percent of all new parking spaces in multifamily and commercial parking structures must be EV ready.

These ordinances reflect the cities’ commitment to hit environmental protection goals, but also help ensure fiscal responsibility. With the increase in EV drivers inevitable, cities need to prepare by mandating that new construction includes EV ready codes.

How Is EV-Readiness Added to Building Codes?

EV-ready building code is typically incorporated in the municipal building code via an amendment. Depending on the municipal process of a specific local government entity, this amendment process takes place every three to six years.

Some EV-ready code only requires that new construction takes into account electric vehicle charging stations in their architecture, whereas more progressive codes require that charging stations actually be built along with the facility itself. Some cities, like Boulder, split the difference, so to speak, by requiring that parking facilities include outlets for drivers to plug in (as opposed to faster-charging Level 2 or Level 3 stations).

Advantages for Property Owners

On paper, more codes sound like more of a hassle. But the truth is that you have very little to lose and everything to gain by following EV-ready building codes and embracing the future of EV technology. Here’s why:

  • Generate Revenue

    Installing EV-charging stations presents incredible opportunities for financial growth. If you’re looking for new ways to boost your bottom line, investing in charging equipment is a solid option. The industry keeps growing year after year, and early adopters are the ones who are winning at this point in time (and likely in the future).

    For starters, you can choose how much you want to charge EV drivers for using your stations. You can generate revenue by charging for electricity, or you can offer free charging to attract new residents or customers. EV-ready building codes only govern the infrastructure requirements. It’s entirely up to you how much you want to charge users.

  • Attract a High Net Worth Clientele

    Most people who drive electric vehicles have high-paying jobs. Whether you’re seeking reliable tenants or customers who are willing to spend a bit more, offering charging stations make the right people take an interest in your property or business. If you’re looking for a way to break into premium markets, charging stations give your property that upscale feel.

  • Boost Your Reputation

    Beyond just attracting high net-worth tenants and customers, following EV-ready building codes and offering charging stations shows the world that you care about the environment. It proves that you or your company take deliberate action to make the world a greener place. Given this profile, you can use charging stations in your marketing materials to elevate your brand.

  • Get Ahead of the Game

    While EV charging stations do require an initial investment, that investment can pay off over time. Furthermore, more communities are expecting EV charging stations – and more local governments are beginning to agree that part of your responsibility as a property owner is to provide tenants such options.

    In California, the building code for electric vehicles now mandates that landlords honor a tenant’s request to install an EV charging station if the lease agreement includes a parking space and if the parking lot or garage does not already have 10 percent of its spaces outfitted with EV charging stations. In these situations, the landlord is responsible for the cost of the retrofit, while the tenant must pay for the electricity used as well as an insurance policy on the charging station.

  • Reduce Future Expenses

    Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why it’s so important to follow EV building codes is that if you don’t, you’re probably going to pay for it in the long run. Beyond penalties associated with not following codes, the cost of installing charging stations without the proper infrastructure existing in place is significantly higher than with it.

    For example, imagine where you’d be in ten years if you hadn’t followed EV-ready building codes and charging stations have become the new standard. They’re legally required, and you have to install them. The cost of retrofitting existing properties with conduit and electrical capacity will be much higher a decade from now than if you had installed this infrastructure during the initial construction phase.

Get a Free Quote

Installing charging stations at your workplace doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. There are plenty of federal and local government incentives in place to drastically offset the initial cost. Additionally, our team of EV experts can assist you in selecting and installing infrastructure that aligns with your budget requirements.

For a free site assessment and to get a free quote, contact our team today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about EV-ready building codes, including California electric vehicle building codes, and get you started on the path to success. Partner with EV Connect, the undisputed leader of the EV charging industry.

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