California Code

What is Title 24?

Title 24 parts 1 & 6 are the requirements of the building energy efficiency standards (BEES) as set forth by the California Energy Commission.  Basically, they are the california laws for energy efficient construction and they apply to all buildings.  Title 24 documentation is specific to each individual project and includes things such as materials used, different construction assemblies, and the energy systems which will be installed.  When all of the pieces are digitally modeled  together in our software your energy analyst can determine the total energy use of the home using time dependent variables or TDVs.  TDVs  consist of what type of energy is used, where the energy will be used, and how long will it be used for.  Calculating these TDVs together we can determine the home's amount of energy use  and the environmental impact of that energy use.  California has a "base" model to which all new construction is compared.  So when we run Title 24 calculations we get a compliance percentage, either +% in compliance or -% out of compliance.  Essentially it is how much more or less energy your home will consume as designed in comparison to the "base" home.  Easy right?  Not really, but that is why we're here.  We will guide you through the intricacies of the California code.  Whether you're a first time homeowner builder or a seasoned architect our extensive knowledge of modern building materials and the laws surrounding their use will keep your project on course throughout the build process.

When was Title 24 implemented?

Title 24 was initially introduced in 1978 for new residential and nonresidential buildings. Over the years new amendments have been made and the standard of energy efficiency in California has slowly grown. Around 1998 the residential compliance manual was introduced which was designed to layout the required standards so that architects and builders could stay up with the code.  Now every three years the code is upgraded.  The goal is that all new construction will be net-zero energy by 2020 which means that new buildings will need to create as much energy as they consume. This is a lofty and difficult goal to achieve but it is for a good reason.  One of the issues we commonly deal with in this industry is keeping homeowners and builders up to date with the codes as they become more and more stringent.  On average the energy code increases efficiency requirements of new buildings by around 28% every three years.  We know first hand just how tough it can be to meet code. 

Why is it so much harder to comply?

Well as we said before the goal is to make all new buildings zero-net energy by 2020.  This is a lofty and difficult goal to achieve but it is for a good reason.  One of the issues we commonly deal with in this industry is keeping homeowners and builders up to date with the codes as they become more and more stringent.  On average the energy code increases efficiency requirements of new buildings by around 28% every three years.  The most recent 2016 code cycle which was implemented on January 1st of 2017  has been the most painful yet. However, with our experience as HERS raters we know the workarounds and the most cost effective ways to achieve your building aspirations.  We know first hand just how tough it can be to meet code and we want to help you get there.

What can I do to improve the performance of a new home?

New Homes- You can make a new home as efficient as you want.

1. Solar PV installations over 1.5 Kw will give you a huge compliance bump because your home creates a large portion of the electricity it will use.  We highly recommend installing solar now because as of 2020 there will no longer be federal tax credits available for solar installations and it will then be a mandatory requirement in California.

2. Rooftop continuous rigid insulation will also give you a major compliance bump.  It keeps thermal cross-overs from releasing energy out of the house in the winter and into the house during summer.

3. Rigid insulation on the walls will have a similar effect to rooftop rigid insulation.  It helps to keep the warmth in and the cold out much better than a standard wood framed wall.  

4. Low e^2 windows are becoming the industry standard. By designing a home with Low e^3 you are increasing your overall energy savings and Title 24 compliance margin.

5. High Efficiency hot water and HVAC equipment gives a huge boost in compliance.  By upgrading, you can drastically reduce your energy bills and therefore increase your compliance margin.

6. HERS testing.  While some HERS tests are required there are others that can be used to show your design incorporates building and efficiency methods that make your home that much more green.  These can get you a nice increase in compliance as well. 

So what are the steps to the process?

  1. Design Phase: Parties associated with this phase must ensure that the building complies with the Building Energy Efficiency Standards and that the significant features required for compliance are documented on the plans and/or specifications(i.e. Title 24 and CALGreen).

  2. Permit Application: When the design is complete, the construction documents are prepared, and when other approvals (planning department, water, etc.) are secured, the owner or contractor makes an application for a building permit.

  3. Plan Check: Local enforcement agencies check plans to ensure that the building design conforms to Building Standards. This includes health and safety requirements, such as fire and structural, and also the building energy efficiency requirements.

  4. Building Permit: After the plans examiner has approved the plans and specifications for the project, a building permit may be issued by the enforcement agency at the request of the builder.

  5. Coordination with a third party inspector (such as a HERS Rater/ ATT): Some building features require coordination with a third party inspector for specific field verification and diagnostic testing during the project. Early coordination and communication is necessary to properly schedule these inspections.

  6. Construction Phase: Upon receiving a building permit from the local enforcement agency, the contractor begins construction.

  7. Enforcement Agency Field Inspection: Local building departments, or their representatives, inspect all new buildings to ensure compliance with Building Standards

  8. Field Verification and/or Diagnostic Testing: Some building features require field verification and/or diagnostic testing by a third party inspector (such as a HERS Rater or Acceptance Testing Technician) as a condition for compliance with the Standards.

  9. Issuance of Final Permit: The permit is finalized and closed out by the enforcement agency. This approval is provided by the local enforcement agency.

  10. Post Construction: Upon project completion, the enforcement agency shall require the builder to leave inside the building all completed, signed and dated compliance documentation which includes at a minimum the CF-1R and all applicable CF-2R forms for residential projects and the applicable NRCC, NRCI and NRCA forms for nonresidential projects.

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