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  • Writer's pictureRoy Nicolas Asi

How to navigate the Energy Code for your ADU project

Are you planning on building an ADU soon? What if you could reduce the overall cost of your ADU project by navigating through the energy code and determining the correct approach to your project. In fact, depending on the scope of work and approach, you may be able to cut the cost of construction by properly assessing the code requirements and regulations. The best news? It’s not complicated, and we can assist you in navigating through the energy code requirements in a few minutes.

If you do not already know, an ADU is an “Accessory Dwelling Unit” that has been a hot commodity in the housing market and construction industry. ADU’s have been proven to be a great way to build equity into your property, while producing passive income. As an energy consultant, it is our job and our goal to provide you with as much information as you need to properly address your project needs, while coinciding with the energy code requirements. Therefore, our team has done the leg work in condensing and refining the requirements for ADU’s that were issued by the California Energy Commission (CEC) as “blueprint issues”.

As energy consultants, a lot of the questions we get about ADU’s are about determining the construction type defined by the energy code. The energy code has defined residential construction in 3 different types: new construction, addition alone, or existing/addition/alteration. The document issued by the CEC, blueprint 133, is a guideline that can help with navigating through the code requirements. Below are some references to scenarios that may be applicable to your project and help you in determining the pathway for the project.

Figure 1: ADU over detached garage

Figure 2: ADU adjacent detached garage

In figure 3 example, you will find an ADU that is connected by a breezeway to the existing house. In this scenario, this would be considered a new construction project. Since the ADU and the main house do not share a common wall, the energy code will not provide any exemptions to the project and will hold it to the standards of a new construction project. New construction is more costly in comparison to projects that are considered “addition alone”.

I hope that this information has been a useful tool for your upcoming project. Be sure to check our website and LinkedIn profile for future posts. Comment below with your opinion and any thoughts on ADU’s and the blueprint issues by the CEC. As always, like, comment, and share our post to help others interested in the topic. Better yet, give us a call! We’d love to discuss your upcoming project!

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