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For Immediate Release: April 23, 2008
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Approves New Energy Efficient
Measures for California Homes and Businesses


Sacramento -- The California Energy Commission today announced dozens of new energy efficiency building standards for new construction that will save consumers money and reduce energy consumption.

"These new standards demonstrate that California is serious about energy efficiency," said Energy Commission Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel. "These standards will help consumers reduce their monthly energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving the codes used in residential and business construction in California," she added.

The 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, also known as Title 24, regulates construction of residential and nonresidential buildings. The new standards have been updated to include new code regulations for lighting; windows; roofing; skylights; swimming pool and spa equipment; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and controls; and the New Solar Homes Partnership.

High performance windows in new homes will now be required to be more resistant to heat and better insulated. Additionally, several changes make heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems more efficient for homes and businesses.

"Cool roof" standards have also been upgraded to include residential and nonresidential buildings. "Cool roofs" are highly reflective, insulated roofing materials that stay up to 40 degrees cooler than a normal roof under a hot summer sun. "Cool roof" standards are designed to reduce air conditioner demand, save money, and reduce the urban heat island effect. A "cool roof" can reduce a homeowner's electricity consumption by as much as 20 percent.

Efficient lighting in both residential and nonresidential applications is a key improvement of the latest standards. Expanded use of skylights in these standards is evident in large nonresidential buildings. For example, the requirement to install skylights in commercial warehouses larger than 25,000 square feet has been changed to include warehouses starting at 8,000 square feet. As a result, businesses will use more natural daylight and save electricity costs.

Many of the changes in the standards are tailored to help reduce not only overall energy use, but peak energy use - electricity demand on hot summer days when air conditioning loads can cause California's need for power to nearly double. The latest efficiency standards will cut California's peak energy demand by 129 megawatts the first year the standards are in effect and increase cumulatively in subsequent years.

The standards have support from many sectors. According to Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz, "By 2013, the new building code will save as much energy as a large (500 megawatt) power plant. These advanced performance standards place California on course to meet its future energy needs and help achieve its ambitious global warming reduction goals." Horowitz added, "Through these upgrades, California once again demonstrates its dedicated environmental leadership by having one of the most advanced building energy codes in the world."

For more information on the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, visit the Energy Commission's website: www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2008standards/

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