San Carlos Greenhouse Gas Fee Study

At a Glance



City of San Carlos

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As part of a multi-disciplinary team, ECOnorthwest worked with the City of San Carlos to understand how the development of new life sciences space would impact Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and how to mitigate its impact to achieve the City’s climate goals. In 2021, the City adopted a Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan to guide strategies to reduce GHG Emissions by 40% by 2030. Among these strategies was to adopt an all-electric reach code requiring new construction to be all electric; however, the reach code includes an exemption for life sciences developments because they can face technical challenges to building all-electric. As a life sciences hub, the City will be challenged to meet GHG targets with an increasing amount of development qualifying for exemptions. To address this challenge, our team quantified the aggregate increase in GHG emissions from new life sciences development and ECO evaluated the feasibility of implementing an in-lieu fee for life sciences developments seeking the exemption to provide resources for GHG reduction efforts elsewhere. ECO conducted a detailed market analysis of the regional life sciences market and developed a pro forma model of a range of commercial life sciences prototypes that would likely qualify for the exemption. We modeled the impact of a range of fees on development feasibility based on current market conditions and conducted a sensitivity analysis to determine a fee range that could be appropriate under future market conditions.