What Energy Uses Are Regulated In Buildings ?
Museum of Man - San Diego
Museum of Man – San Diego

The California Energy Code applies to all residential and non-residential buildings except hospitals, nursing homes, and jails.  It controls energy efficiency in new and existing buildings to enhance outdoor and indoor environmental quality by regulating a building’s “energy budget” for consuming hydro-carbon fuel and electricity for room heating, cooling, and ventilation, water heating, indoor and outdoor lighting and signs.  The Energy Code also has mandatory requirements for the manufacturing, construction, and installation of building components, including

  • appliances
  • solar retrofitting
  • space-conditioning equipment
  • pool and spa controls and equipment
  • water heating controls and equipment
  • windows, skylights, and exterior doors
  • insulation, roofing, and radiant barriers
  • lighting controls, ballast, and luminaires
What Standards Are Approved For Designing An Energy Budget ? 

California is divided into 16 zip-coded climate zones, each of which has different weather data, prescriptive packages, and energy budgets.  The Energy Budgets (designed maximum energy consumption) for new buildings, additions, and alterations have the same mandatory elements, but may have different prescriptive (“cook book”) and performance (computer software) elements.   Energy Budgets cover the building envelope, space-conditioning systems, water heating systems, and indoor and outdoor signs and lighting.

The Energy Commission does not independently confirm that manufacturers’ certifications of their equipment, products, and devices meet Energy Code requirements.

What Are The 2013 Changes To The Energy Code?

The 2013 Energy Code, which is effective July 1, 2014, uses 25% less energy for lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and water heating than the 2008 regulations.  Enhancements using a combination of efficiency and renewable energy generation will be continue to be adopted toward a goal of Zero Net Energy consumption in new homes by 2020 and new commercial buildings by 2030.

Major changes in 2013 prescriptive, mandatory and recommended regulations are listed in the California Energy Commission’s Summary Sheet

What Are TDV, HERS, CEPE, SEER, and Lighting Zones ?

  • Time Dependent Valuation energy is used to compare prescriptive designs with energy budgets.
  • Home Energy Rating System is an audit of an existing home’s energy budget to identify which upgrades will be the most cost-effective.
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating is the electrical efficiency rating of air conditioning equipment.
  • Outdoor lighting design is based on a building’s proximity to one of three Lighting Zones based on Census Bureau boundaries.  Zones 1 and 2 are rural areas, and Zone 3 is urban areas.  Jurisdictions may create a special Zone 4.
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