Thursday, June 13, 2013

California 2013 Building Efficiency Standards

These changes will be going into effect on January 1st.  As there always is a learning curve, we will work with clients to meet the new standards but what is important to realize is that with these changes comes additional costs.

The California Energy Commission has adopted changes to its 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, contained in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 24, Part 6 (also known as the California Energy Code).

Among the provisions are:
  • Green House Gas (GHG) considerations, which identify buildings as second only to transportation in emissions. Legislation, such as AB32 (2006, 2010), and executive orders (S-3-05, 2005) have established goals of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
  • New building standards are to achieve "net zero energy" levels by 2020 for residences and by 2030 for commercial buildings. A net zero energy building consumes only as much energy on an annual basis as can be generated with an on-site renewable energy system.
  • The Green Building Standards Code, first adopted by the California Building Standards Commission in July 2008, calls for tiered energy performance levels of 15 percent and 30 percent more stringent than the 2008 mandatory standards. These goals are voluntary on a statewide basis, but local jurisdictions may adopt the Green Building Standards Code as mandatory at the local level.

Climate Zones and Compliance LevelsThe 2013 standards’ requirements are based on 16 defined climate zones within the state (e.g., Zone 1 = northwest and Los Angeles-area shorelines; Zone 15 = southern desert; Zone 16 = eastern mountains). The requirements consist of three elements:
  • Mandatory Requirements – things that always have to be done.
  • Prescriptive Compliance – specific criteria or performance measures that must be achieved. These are often considered too restrictive.
  • Performance Compliance – using approved compliance software to demonstrate compliance for the entire building based on trade-offs among various installed features. The mandatory requirements still must be met with the same prescriptive package features. Because builders want credit for installed features, more than 90 percent of all compliance is achieved via this method.
Standards Change for Low-Rise Residential BuildingsThe 2013 standard places a mandatory maximum conductive heat transfer (U-factor) requirement on all fenestration products separating conditioned space from unconditioned space. Revised prescriptive requirements for high-performance windows reduce the maximum U‐factor to 0.32 and maximum Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) to 0.25 in most climates (there are no SHGC requirements in mild coastal zones). Visible transmittance (VT) has been added to the fenestration product characteristics that must be tested and labeled according to National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) procedures.

Authorized exceptions include installation of up to 16 square feet (increased from the originally proposed 12 square feet) of skylights with U-factor of 0.55 and SHGC of 0.30, and use of up to 3 square feet of door glass and 3 square feet of tubular daylighting device at any performance level.

“Component Packages” as defined in the 2008 version have been removed. The sole prescriptive package in the 2013 Standards (“Package A”) is what was called “Package D” in the 2008 Standards. “Package E” for metal-framed windows, which allowed higher aluminum framed U-values by introducing tradeoffs with other features, has also been eliminated.

Area weighting is acceptable, meaning that some windows can be worse than the specified performance as long as the average for the building meets the criteria.

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