For Immediate Release: June 30, 1999
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

Energy Efficiency Building Standards Take Effect July 1

As the latest version of California's Energy Efficiency Building Standards go into effect July 1, the California Energy Commission is working to make them more user-friendly than ever before.

As an alternative to receiving printed copies, this year consumers can download the new regulations from the Energy Commission's Web Site, along with all necessary compliance forms and manuals that walk people through the steps needed to comply with the code. The information will also be available for the first time on CD ROM. Consumers, contractors and building officials also can have their questions answered by e-mailing or calling the Commission's Energy Hotline, and they can electronically receive requested documents over the Commission's automated FAX line.

The Energy Efficiency Building Standards apply to both residential and non-residential construction and are part of the State's overall Building Codes. The energy codes are revised every three years to capture the benefits of new technology. These improvements are adopted by the California Energy Commission and subsequently approved by the California Building Standards Commission.

To make it easier to understand and comply with the new regulations, the Energy Commission also approved three computer programs—CALRES Version 1.34, MICROPAS Version 5.0, and ENERGY PRO Version 2.0. These make it simpler for builders to use a performance-based approach to meeting the standards. Contractors, for example, who want to add more window area to a home than the codes call for can meet a prescribed "energy budget" and still comply with the standards by increasing the amount of insulation in the walls and ceiling or by installing more energy efficient windows. These steps allow contractors to earn "compliance credits," offsetting the inefficiency of the added glass by improving the energy performance in the overall building. The final result is still reduced energy use and improved comfort.

An improvement in the latest residential energy code allows builders to claim this sort of compliance credit for well-designed and properly installed duct systems, and for reducing the amount of air leakage in a house. To earn the greatest energy credits, contractors must have their ducts inspected and diagnostically tested in the field.

In non-residential construction, the latest changes in the energy code will result in well-lit office buildings that use new, yet commonly available, lighting technology to improve energy efficiency.

Since they were adopted in 1977, the Energy Efficiency Building Standards have saved Californians an estimated $16 billion in energy costs.

Hard copies of the Energy Efficiency Building Standards can be obtained from the Energy Commission's Publications Office in Sacramento at 916-654-5200.

The standards and the residential and non-residential compliance manuals also can be downloaded from the Internet at:

The Energy Efficiency Hotline operates from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call toll-free from within California at 1-800-772-3300. The direct number is 916-654-5106. Questions about Title 24 can be e-mailed to:

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