California

Last updated on 2014-01-13

Current News

The California Energy Commission is beginning the process to update the existing 2008 Standards. The 2013 California Energy Code will go into effect in conjunction with the upgrade to other portions of the California Building Standards Code on January 1, 2014.

Current CodeState Specific
Amendments / Additional State Code InformationThe 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, comprising Title 24, Parts 1 and 6, of the California Code of Regulations, is mandatory statewide. Local government agencies may adopt and enforce energy efficiency standards for newly constructed buildings, additions, alterations, and repairs provided the California Energy Commission finds that the standards will require buildings to consume no more energy than permitted by Title 24, Part 6. Such local standards may include adopting the requirements of Title 24, Part 6 before their effective date, requiring additional energy conservation measures, or setting stricter energy budgets.

2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
Approved Compliance ToolsCan use State specific
A list of approved computer programs can be viewed at the California Energy Commission website.
California Energy Commission
Approximate Energy EfficiencyMore energy efficient than ASHRAE 90.1-2010
Effective Date01/01/2014
Adoption Date05/01/2012
Code EnforcementMandatory
DOE DeterminationASHRAE 90.1-2007: Yes
ASHRAE 90.1-2010: Yes

Energy cost savings for California resulting from the state updating its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law are significant, estimated to be on the order of nearly $680 million annually by 2030.

California DOE Determination Letter, May 31, 2013


Current CodeState Specific
Amendments / Additional State Code InformationThe 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, comprising Title 24, Parts 1 and 6, of the California Code of Regulations, is mandatory statewide. Local government agencies may adopt and enforce energy efficiency standards for newly constructed buildings, additions, alterations, and repairs provided the California Energy Commission finds that the standards will require buildings to consume no more energy than permitted by Title 24, Part 6. Such local standards may include adopting the requirements of Title 24, Part 6 before their effective date, requiring additional energy conservation measures, or setting more stricter energy budgets.

2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
Approved Compliance ToolsCan use State specific
A list of approved computer programs can be viewed at the California Energy Commission website.
California Energy Commission

Approximate Energy EfficiencyMore energy efficient than 2012 IECC
Effective Date01/01/2014
Adoption Date05/01/2012
Code EnforcementMandatory
DOE Determination2009 IECC: Yes
2012 IECC: Yes

Energy cost savings for California resulting from the state updating its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law are significant, estimated to be on the order of nearly $680 million annually by 2030.

California DOE Determination Letter, May 31, 2013


Code Change CycleAutomatic Adoption
Timeline of CycleEvery 3 years
Adoption of Reach/Sustainable CodeOn 01/12/2010, Governor Schwarzenegger announced the first statewide Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) which took effect on January 1, 2011. CALGREEN requires all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. 1

State Owned / Funded Buildings

State-owned buildings are required to comply with California's Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Permitting for state buildings is handled through California's Division of the State Architect rather than local building departments.

Adoption Process

The California Energy Commission adopts updates to the Building Energy Efficiency Standards for both residential and nonresidential buildings to coincide with the triennial publication of the state and model building codes. Updates account for technology improvements, market penetration, and improved processes. Proposed changes are reviewed for technical merit, cost effectiveness, and environmental impact. The Energy Commission adopts appropriate changes after a formal rulemaking proceeding. Public and stakeholder input are sought throughout the staff analysis stage and throughout rulemaking. Adopted standards are submitted to the California Buildings Standards Commission for approval, checked for conflicts with other codes, and published as Title 24, Part 6, of the California Code of Regulations.

Enforcement Process

An enforcement agency cannot issue a building permit for any construction unless it determines, in writing, that the building design complies with all energy efficiency requirements on the building permit application date. If a building permit was issued and expires with no construction under the permit, the enforcement agency cannot issue a new permit unless it determines that the building design complies with all energy efficiency requirements in place on the date of the new permit application.

Field inspections are required by the enforcement agency prior to issuing a Certificate of Occupancy or final approval. Installation certificates for equipment and devices required to comply with the Building Energy Efficiency Standards must be posted on site or made available to the inspector and provided to the building owner at the time of occupancy. An insulation certificate must be posted indicating that the installed insulation is consistent with the plans, specifications, and manufacturer's recommendations. Operation and maintenance information for mechanical equipment and devices must be provided to the person responsible for operating and maintaining the building.

Compliance Process

Prescriptive and computer compliance approaches are available to determine compliance with the residential and nonresidential Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Compliance manuals for residential and nonresidential construction are available at http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2008standards/index.html.

Background

The Warren-Alquist Act, enacted in 1976, mandated that the California Energy Commission create and periodically update Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards) for the state of California. These standards address newly constructed buildings and additions and alterations to existing buildings. The Standards have, in combination with appliance efficiency standards and utility-sponsored incentive programs, strongly contributed to California's per capita electricity consumption remaining relatively constant since the mid-1970s. Since the first adoption in 1977, the Standards have been periodically updated on a three-year cycle. The most recent update, the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, went into effect on January 1, 2010. A first analysis of the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards revealed an average energy savings at least 21 percent above ASHRAE 90.1-2004.

On December 14, 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-20-04, known as the Green Building Initiative. It laid out a comprehensive set of actions to improve energy efficiency in nonresidential buildings. The Energy Commission was directed to undertake all actions within its authority to increase the energy efficiency of new nonresidential buildings by 20 percent by 2015.

On February 2, 2009, a bill was introduced in the state assembly that would mandate "zero net energy" for residential buildings starting in 2020. The new code, called "CALGreen," won a unanimous vote by the California Building Standards Commission and took effect in January 2011.

Also in 2009, AB 758 provided the foundation for the development and implementation of a new program established by state legislature. The comprehensive program aims to achieve greater energy efficiency in existing residential and nonresidential structures that fall significantly below the Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The program was developed and implemented by the Energy Commission in coordination with all stakeholders. Program components include workforce development, public awareness, financing options, rating systems, labeling programs, audits, commissioning investigations, retrofits, and retro-commissioning.

The Energy Commission is now beginning the proceedings to update the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The upgraded Standards are planned to go into effect in conjunction with the triennial upgrade of the other parts of the California Building Standards Code and be published as the 2013 California Energy Code.