THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TITLE 24
Many people prioritize the living room, bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom in home renovation, or spend more time in choosing the flooring, ceiling, range hood, toilet, refrigerator, lights, etc. There is also a code about energy saving that cannot be neglected when it comes to choosing doors, windows, and lights.
Energy-saving regulations make a huge contribution to protecting the environment. It should not only be the focus of the designers but also of everyone else as the partial renovation may trigger the energy-saving upgrade of the entire house and increase expected expenses.
There have been relevant regulations about energy saving for a long time that regulate the doors, windows, material, heat insulation, and lighting of buildings in perspectives of latitude and longitude to accommodate the climate. We will skip the universal regulations and talk about a more restrictive energy-saving regulation in California Title 24.
What is Title 24
The official explanation of Title 24 is California building energy efficiency standards, which are designed to ensure building energy efficiency and enhance indoor and outdoor environmental quality, apply to newly constructed buildings and existing buildings. The standards are adopted into the California Code of Regulations (Title 24, Part 6). The California Energy Commission is responsible for adopting, implementing, and updating the stands. Local city and county enforcement agencies have the authority to verify compliance. They have clear numerical regulations for building ventilation, heating, air conditioning, heat insulation, lighting, and choice of doors and windows. Please read the relevant regulations before you buy doors and windows by yourself.
A Summary of California’s Energy-Saving Path
California is the largest economy in the United States, takes a leading position in high technology, and has the best preventative measures aiming at Global Warming. California was the first state to implement minimum energy efficiency standards initially issued in 1974. It was also the first to establish an energy regulation committee. Thus, the energy consumption per capita in California is the lowest in the United States.
The law requires that the committee must update the regulations every three years. These standards are cost-effective for homeowners within 30 years and are updated to incorporate new energy-saving technologies and construction methods. They save energy, improve power supply reliability, enhance indoor comfort, avoid building new power plants, and help to protect the environment.
Significant Progress in 2008:
2008 is a milestone that California made progressive energy-saving goals to use zero net energy (ZNE) in all new homes and commercial buildings before 2030. ZNE means that new buildings must combine improved efficiency and the use of distributed renewable energy to meet 100% annual energy needs. The standards in 2016 did not take us to ZNE, but it was a step closer to our goals to make California building codes better. The standards in 2019 took the last step to realize ZNE for newly constructed buildings.
Does it Save Money or Make us Spend More?
Here comes the question, Title 24 is helpful for climate and sustainable development, but does it save us money more make us spend more? On average, the Building Energy Efficiency Standards of 2016 increased $2,700 in construction cost but would save $7,400 in energy and maintenance in the future 30 years. In other words, for a 30% mortgage with a 5% interest rate, these standards add $11 per month for a regular home but save $31 in heating, AC, and lighting. It indeed saves money in the long term.
Why Are They Important to Us?
Why should we care about calculating energy saving? Besides being environmental-friendly and saving money, it affects the time of a project when some partial renovation can trigger the energy-saving upgrade of the entire house, which may significantly increase the expenses of the project. In most cases, an energy-saving calculation is unnecessary for indoor renovation, remodeling, even simple changes in the indoor walls. But some cities state that when the remodel cost is over 75k, you need to calculate and upgrade energy saving. And some cities require when the remodeling area is over 50%, you need to calculate energy saving, also apply to newly constructed and ADUs. In current cases, different cities have slightly different regulations. Given the energy-saving design requires a strong professional background, please do a thorough consultation with the local city before remodeling to prevent unexpected expenses.