Building Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings for the 2016 Building Efficiency Standards
June 21, 2017
Energy Efficiency (400)
Building Energy Efficiency Standards - Title 24
The Building Energy Efficiency Standards were first adopted in 1976 and have been updated periodically since then as directed by statute. In 1975 the Department of Housing and Community Development adopted rudimentary energy conservation standards under their State Housing Law authority that were a precursor to the first generation of the Standards. However, the Warren-Alquist Act was passed one year earlier with explicit direction to the Energy Commission (formally titled the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission) to adopt and implement the Standards. The Energy Commission’s statute created separate authority and specific direction regarding what the Standards are to address, what criteria are to be met in developing the Standards, and what implementation tools, aids, and technical assistance are to be provided.
The Standards contain energy and water efficiency requirements (and indoor air quality requirements) for newly constructed buildings, additions to existing buildings, and alterations to existing buildings. Public Resources Code Sections 25402 subdivisions (a)-(b) and 25402.1 emphasize the importance of building design and construction flexibility by requiring the Energy Commission to establish performance standards, in the form of an “energy budget” in terms of the energy consumption per square foot of floor space. For this reason, the Standards include both a prescriptive option, allowing builders to comply by using methods known to be efficient, and a performance option, allowing builders complete freedom in their designs provided the building achieves the same overall efficiency as an equivalent building using the prescriptive option. Reference Appendices are adopted along with the Standards that contain data and other information that helps builders comply with the Standards.
The 2016 update to the Building Energy Efficiency Standards focuses on several key areas to improve the energy efficiency of newly constructed buildings and additions and alterations to existing buildings. The most significant efficiency improvements to the residential Standards include improvements for attics, walls, water heating, and lighting. The most significant efficiency improvements to the nonresidential Standards include alignment with the ASHRAE 90.1 2013 national standards. New efficiency requirements for elevators and direct digital controls are included in the nonresidential Standards. The 2016 Standards also include changes made throughout all of its sections to improve the clarity, consistency, and readability of the regulatory language.