This page is home to examples of Piedmont projects that are energy efficient and/or sustainable, as well as updates on permitting numbers. 

Highlight: Permits Issued In 2022

In calendar year 2022, the Planning & Building Department approved over 850 permits. This includes all-electric accessory dwelling units (ADUs), solar panels, electric panels upgrades, and other electrical appliance installations. 

ADU -- There were nearly 30 ADU permits approved in 2022. 

HVAC -- There were more than 80 mechanical permits approved in 2022, which includes high efficiency furnaces and electric heat pumps. When replacing your furnace, consider a heat pump. Heat pumps are significantly more energy efficient than gas furnaces and can both heat and cool your home.

There are ways to make your electric appliances cost less. BayREN offers rebates for electric alternatives such as:
You can see all the rebates at this webpage

Solar -- There were over 125 solar panel and/or battery permits approved in 2022.

Project Highlight: All-Electric ADU at 2070 Oakland Ave


Laurie Schweitzer and Jai Balkissoon had been considering building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for years. When the rules for creating an ADU changed, they jumped at the opportunity to add on to their garage. They designed it for future guests and their future selves. 

Their ADU is all-electric. They wanted the unit to be energy efficient with minimal environmental impact. They installed a heat pump, a mini-split water heater, induction stove, LED lighting, and efficient appliances. They also installed skylights for natural light and windows that open throughout for good airflow. Laurie’s favorite feature is an old, original door found under the main house that was repurposed into a pocket door to separate the garage room from the addition. The ADU is 336 square feet added onto the back of the 300 square foot existing garage creating a 636 square foot structure.


With any project, there are bound to be unforeseen challenges. First, the electric panel had to be upgraded from 50 to 200 Amps to accommodate both the main house and the ADU. Second, they had to find the sewer main and put in a new sewer lateral to the main house, which necessitated digging up their flagstone patio, deck, and other vital structures, all before the ADU foundation was poured. Third, once the ADU was complete, their electricity bill increased considerably. They’ve chosen to install solar on the roof of the main house to cut down on electricity costs. 

Overall though, Laurie and Jai are thrilled with their all-electric ADU, and say that it’s added to their enjoyment of the entire home. Their children, family and friends are visiting more often because they have a beautiful and comfortable place to stay. Knowing that they have an accessible unit in their own home gives them peace of mind, and a sense of security for their future.


Project Highlight: ADU at 778 Kingston Ave

The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Homeowner David Karol recently explained some of the benefits of having an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), some of the challenges the family experienced while building it, and talked about who might benefit from building one.

The Karols moved to Piedmont in 2018 and planned from the beginning to build an ADU for David's mom. They started the permitting process in 2019, and was approved for building in 2020.

The home sits on a long and rectangular lot, which was good for separation between the house and the proposed ADU. Unfortunately, having such a rectangular property meant additional challenges when building. One wall of the garage had to be dismantled in order to get the bulldozer in.

The project was initially rejected by the City Planning Commission, and it was unclear if there would be enough room in the backyard to get the equipment in to build the structure. Having the ADU a certain distance from the street triggered fire related safety regulations, and integrating those into the final project was not simple. Working with Studio G+S Architects and Arani Construction made it easier.

Despite the hurdles, the Karols are happy with the ADU! By the end of 2020, it was ready to live in, and David's mom soon moved in. Although the building is 650 square feet, lots of windows and skylights makes it feel significantly larger. David said, “We wanted it to be enjoyable, not like a dungeon! 650 square feet is not a lot of space, but it feels comfortable.”

Tall ceilings, well thought out kitchen space, and proximity to the main house makes the ADU both convenient and pleasant. David  says that it is nice to be close to a family member, but still far enough away to have some privacy. It’s a great accommodation for a family with different generations in the area.

To learn more about ADU’s and the process in Piedmont, please check out the City’s webpage here. ADU’s are a great way to have a family member join your living space, or rent it out for some passive income. If you have questions, please reach out to a member of the Planning and Building team for more information.