Following the creation of the California Energy Commission (CEC) in 1974, the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards were created by the state legislature in 1978 to uphold safe and green building standards for both residential and non-residential (commercial) buildings. The purpose behind these standards is to improve the performance of facilities and to improve environmental, human, and economic outcomes through operational efficiencies.
Because energy efficient practices and designs have been consistently improving in the last 40 years, the CEC required that the Standards be updated every three years to ensure optimal energy efficiency. Currently, all parties involved with the design and creation of a building, including structural engineers, designers, and contractors, operate under the recently-passed 2016 Standards.
The Current Standards
In 2016, the government of California passed the the most recent Title 24 Building Standards, which officially went into effect January 1, 2017. Even since 2013, the standards needed to be modified to ensure newly-constructed buildings were utilizing the most energy-efficient building practices.
The Standards are divided into 12 code sections, from Electrical Codes, to Fire Codes, to Existing Building Codes and everything in between. These standards vary among California’s many climates because specific measures are required for certain climates. And in fact, the state of California has 16 climate zones. The CEC is responsible for implementing and updating these codes, though engineering companies, such as ours, are held accountable for following these codes with all new construction projects.
Breakdown of Codes
● Part 1: California Administrative Code. Administrative regulations created for the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) and all other State agencies that implement these Standards.
● Part 2: California Building Code. To preserve the health, property and public welfare by regulating the design, construction, quality of materials, use and occupancy, location and maintenance of all buildings.
● Part 3: California Electrical Code. To protect against hazards that can arise from the use of electricity. Regulates the design of electrical wiring, equipment and systems.
● Part 4: California Mechanical Code. Regulates the design, creation, and installation of mechanical materials and systems. This includes the quality of materials, location, operation, and maintenance or use of heating, ventilating, cooling, refrigeration systems, and incinerators.
● Part 5: California Plumbing Code. Designed to safeguard health, property, and public welfare from hazards that can arise from plumbing piping systems.
● Part 6: California Energy Code. Designed to lower energy usage and costs and improve interior environments.
● Part 7: No longer published.
● Part 8: California Historical Building Code. For preservation, restoration, relocation, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of historical buildings/structures.
● Part 9: California Fire Code. To safeguard life and property from fire and explosion as well as hazardous materials and devices.
● Part 10: California Existing Building Code. Standards will be required for any reconstruction or renovation of existing buildings and their various systems.
● Part 11: California Green Building Standards (CALGreen Code). Designed for commercial and non-commercial buildings, the standards appropriately align with current LEED building standards.
● Part 12: California Reference Standards Code. Contains minimum test and reference standards all new buildings must adhere to.
Because the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards update approximately every three years, in 2019, they will be even more improved than those passed in 2016. This also means that all 2019 Standards will go into effect on January 2020, just like the 2016 standards went into effect January 2017.
Not only does Gausman and Moore abide by these standards for current in-progress buildings, but we also follow the guidelines for all of our our new building projects. It is our goal to continue to create projects that operate in the best interest of their occupants and their environments.