Building Energy Codes in California: What You Need to Know
These days, building a home or commercial space isn’t just about choosing materials, creating a layout and having a team to handle the construction project anymore.
With the growing issues in pollution and toxicity, the government has imposed new regulations that encourage homeowners and builders to build energy efficient homes that don’t only reduce the effects of global warming but also reduce energy costs significantly.
In California, the state updates its Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Parts 6 and 11) every three years to ensure that regulations are in line with new technologies and improvements in construction.
If you’re building a home or commercial space in the state, Title 24 compliance is essential, which is why it’s very important to know the latest in Building Energy Codes.
The 2019 California Energy Code
Any Title 24 energy consultant should know a thing or two about the newest amendment in California’s energy code. Effective on January 1, 2020, this update focuses on non-residential lighting requirements, residential photovoltaic systems and thermal envelope standards.
According to projections, homes constructed under this new Energy Code will be 53% more energy efficient than those built following the 2016 Energy Code. This could lead to a projected savings of $80 per month on lighting, heating and cooling.
Commercial buildings are also expected to reduce electricity consumption by at least 30% due to lighting upgrades required by the code. Here are some of the most important points in this newest update:
- New Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Standards
Kitchen range hood systems and HVAC systems will be tested for new HERS standards to improve their energy efficiency. Kitchen range hood systems, for instance, will need to operate more quietly while handing a bigger capacity. There is also a projected increase in the prices of home air filters, especially with the COVID-19 crisis.
- Mandatory Photovoltaic Systems
With the 2019 update focusing on meeting the energy needs of a home, the state mandates all new ground up residential construction with 3 stories or less from the ground to incorporate a photovoltaic (PV) system.
Contractors will need to calculate the estimated electrical usage of a home to determine the size of its system. The only exemption to this rule will be for buildings that don’t have sufficient roof space or roofs that are permanently blocked from sunlight.
- Increases in R-Value
The CEC has increased the prescriptive insulation R-values in walls and attics in significant climate zones in the effort to further reduce energy consumption in homes.
For instance, R-value for insulation below the roof deck in attics will now be R-19 in Climate Zones 4, 8-16 instead of R-13. R-value requirements for fill insulation in exterior walls will also increase to R-21 from R-19.
In the effort to build more energy efficient homes, California is making these changes to its Building Energy Code to not only prevent further devastation from climate change but also help homeowners cut down utility costs significantly.