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California Energy Compliance

California has about 7.5 million square footage of commercial buildings and 14 million homes. These buildings generate more than 25% of the state’s GHG (Greenhouse gases) emissions, making businesses and homes a major contributor to climate change.

The state’s energy code is designed to reduce unnecessary and wasteful energy consumption in existing and newly constructed buildings. For instance, California is dedicated to running off 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, hence the popular phrase ‘electricity is the new gas’. Title 24 is an effort in that direction to help California achieve these renewable energy plans.

What is Title 24 (T24)?

California T24 is a collection of Building Energy Efficiency Standards designed for residential and non-residential buildings in the state of California. The goal of these regulations is to increase energy efficiency in new homes and commercial buildings in the state and preserve indoor & outdoor environmental quality.

California residents have complied with the measures of Title 24 in their businesses and homes since 1978 as they’re listed in part 6 of the state’s Code of Regulations. Besides, local city & county authorities verify compliance with relevant building codes. However, the responsibility of updating, implementing, and adopting building energy efficiency in the state is mandated by the California Energy Commission.

The commission updates Title 24 (parts 6 & 11 of the Building Energy Efficiency Standards) every 3 years in collaboration with relevant stakeholders through a transparent and public process. This update ensures that the standards keep up with the rapidly evolving development and latest trends in interior systems such as lighting and HVAC design for residential and commercial buildings.

T24 energy efficiency requirements help businesses in California avoid financial penalties and keep them in compliance with the law. In addition, it offers other benefits like reduced energy costs, improved building comfort & aesthetic appeal, and reduced adverse environmental impacts. At the same time, it helps businesses save money, thus making the state economy more stable and robust while increasing the reliability of electrical systems in California.

It’s also worth mentioning that T24 energy compliance requirements apply to any new installations/ retrofits in existing buildings and all new construction in the state. So, while older buildings don’t have to upgrade their MEP systems to meet these requirements, their new systems must be T24 compliant if they’re undertaking a renovation project. More importantly, a 3rd party T24 expert must certify that a construction project is compliant with these requirements before it opens for business!

What change does the 2022 Title 24 (T24) update mean for California buildings?

As already mentioned, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is required by law to update and adopt cost-effective building energy-efficiency standards every 3 years. This year, changes were made to the 2019 T24 standards and incorporated into the 2022 energy code, expected to take effect starting from January 2023. Here are some notable changes that will impact businesses and homeowners in California;

  • All new homes must be ‘Electric-ready’

The recent T24 code update by the CEC aims to make new businesses and homes with natural gas appliances to be ‘electric-ready’ and encourage wider adoption of electric heat pumps.

‘Electric-ready’ means that every house built in California after this year should either have dedicated panels and circuits’ or ‘electrical circuits for all appliances, to encourage the shift from natural gas to electric in the future.

  • Heat Pumps: The New standard

Another notable change in the 2022 Title 24 new regulations is that at least one heating appliance in new homes and buildings in California should be powered by electricity instead of gas. This includes adding heat pumps in businesses and homes across the state to limit emissions and reduce energy consumption. Once the update takes effect next year, heat pumps will become the standard in all new single-family homes, commercial businesses, and multi-family residences in the state.

  • Expansion of solar power use & storage in some new homes & commercial buildings

Lastly, the CEC’s proposal aims to improve ventilation standards to improve indoor air quality and strengthen solar storage and energy standards. To accomplish that, the new Title 24 Building Code aims to minimize and eventually eliminate the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels by replacing them with electricity produced by renewable sources like HEP dams, wind turbines, and solar panels. As a result, California State regulators altered the 2019 T24 code to require some new commercial buildings and homes in the state to have solar panels & batteries.

Conclusion

Architects, builders, and homeowners in California should ensure that all new buildings and some renovations/ remodels in the state are compliant with Title 24 new regulations.

Contact Innoze Design & Engineering if you’re planning to build or design a new home or commercial building in California. Our team is well-versed in all the building and zoning codes in the states, including the latest Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards!

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