2022 Nonresidential and Multifamily Compliance Manual: for the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
May 12, 2023
Energy Efficiency (400)
Building Energy Efficiency Standards
California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards were adopted in 1976 and have been updated periodically as directed by statute. In 1975, the Department of Housing and Community Development adopted rudimentary energy conservation standards under State Housing Law authority that were a precursor to the first generation of the standards. However, the Warren-Alquist Act1 was passed one year earlier with explicit direction to the California Energy Commission (CEC), formally titled the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, to adopt and implement the standards. The CEC’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 CEC to establish performance standards, in the form of an “energy budget” in terms of the energy consumption per square foot of floor space.
Public Resources Code section 25402.1 requires the CEC support the performance standards with compliance tools for builders and building designers. The Alternative Calculation Method (ACM) Approval Manual adopted by regulation as an appendix of the Standards establishes requirements for input, output, and calculational uniformity in the computer programs used to demonstrate compliance with the Standards. The CEC develops and makes publicly available free, public domain building modeling software to enable compliance based on modeling of building efficiency and performance. The ACM Approval Manual also includes provisions for private firms seeking to develop compliance software for approval by the CEC, which further encourages flexibility and innovation.