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State Profile

Code Type: Commercial Residential
Current State Code State Specific State Specific
Effective Date
Adoption Date
State Amendments No No
State Code Analysis*
Enforcement Mandatory Statewide Mandatory Statewide
Can use COM/REScheck


Commercial Residential
Current Model Code ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 2015 IECC
Yes No
Previous Model Code
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007
Previous Model Code
2012 IECC
2009 IECC

Model Code Savings Potential

Statewide Savings Potential (2010-2030)
Energy (primary)

Consumer Cost Savings

Consumer Cost Savings
Annual ($)
Annual (%)
Life-cycle (30 year)
Simple Payback
Positive Cash Flow


Code Type: Residential Commercial
Field Study No No
Training Program No No


Code Type
Code Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Energy Code Impacts Energy Code Impacts
EIA State Energy Profile EIA State Energy Profile

Additional Information



    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 2016 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 2016 California Energy Code.

    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