California Energy Code

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The California Energy Code, part 6 of the California Building Standards Code which is title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, also titled The Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings, were created by the California Building Standards Commission in 1978 in response to a legislative mandate to reduce California's energy consumption. The standards are updated periodically by the California Energy Commission to allow consideration and possible incorporation of new energy efficiency technologies and methods. The California Energy Code (CEC) contains energy conservation standards applicable to most residential and nonresidential buildings throughout California, including schools.[1]


California was the 1st state to implement the minimum energy standards in laws in 1974. At the same time special commission was built to regulate it in the society, known as California Energy Commission, that was bounded by the Warren-Alquist Act which was made in 1974.This commission sets the minimum standards to cover autos,appliances,lighting and each building. California Energy Commission(CEC) has developed written code which directly and indirectly manages them as the same time they write the codes for the Building Standards Commission that has followed and adopted by the each county and city. In mean time to make it easier they have divided codes in two format named CA residential code and CA non residential code. All of these regulations and codes have been in work since 1974 and that puts California at the top of the list of lowest energy consumption by any city in U.S. although it is the most dense city. California has made many policies to welcome new industries to build according to CEC's energy standards. Obviously it needs to upgrade the codes as they have updated to meet the international energy conversation code[2].

In short, each responsibility can be listed as below.

  1. Forecasting Future Need
  2. Building Energy Standards and Promoting Them
  3. Supporting The Research Regarding Energy and Technologies
  4. Developing Renewable Energy Resources
  5. Renewable Transportation Fuels and Its Technologies
  6. Planning and Directing State Response To Energy Efficiencies

Structure of Regulation[edit]

By including all the responsibilities and criteria's standards are divided in the 3 general parts which are listed below[3] :

  1. Mandatory Requirements
  2. Performance Standards
  3. Prescriptive Standards

Mandatory requirements for all the buildings have been characterized.Performance standards include the energy saving budget that may vary by the climate zones and type of the buildings. CEC tried to built in such a way that it satisfy all the local climate conditions, as California itself has 16 climate zones.Performance path which is very transparent to the user,in which the software is built an environment of the building that has designed and analyse the situation with performance criteria of the building and also shows the conflict of the requirement and it can help user to shift their values so that building can work best under any criteria.These all have defined to make the Title 24 better as possible.

Climate Zones[edit]

The guide to Climate Zone is a reference tool for designers interested in designing bio-climatic buildings.Title 24 of California Energy Code has details on the parameters like climate descriptions,design strategies and climate data(temperature,relative humidity,degree-day,design-day,extra-terrestrial radiation,wind speed and direction).The state of California has been divided into 16 climate zones which are listed below[4]:

Climate Zones in California
  1. Arcata
  2. Santa Rosa
  3. Oakland
  4. San Jose Reid
  5. Santa Maria
  6. Torrance
  7. San Diego
  8. Fullerton
  9. Burbank
  10. Riverside
  11. Red bluff
  12. Sacramento
  13. Fresno
  14. Palmdale
  15. Palm Springs
  16. Blue Canyon

The below figure shows the details of Climate Zones.

Past Code versions 1978-2008[edit]

1978 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Residential and New Nonresidential Buildings CEC-400-1978-001

1980 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: Nonresidential Buildings CEC-400-1980-001 1980 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: Residential Buildings CEC-400-1980-002

1982 1982 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Nonresidential Buildings CEC-400-1982-001, formerly CEC-400-82-054 1982 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Residential Buildings CEC-400-1982-002, formerly CEC-400-81-005 1982 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Apartment Houses and Hotels CEC-400-1982-003, formerly CEC-400-82-055 1982 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Residential Buildings Except Apartment Houses with Four or More Habitable Stories and Hotels, 1983 Edition CEC-400-1983-001, formerly CEC-400-81-005

1984 1984 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Buildings CEC-400-1984-001, formerly CEC-400-84-007 1984 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: New Buildings, 1985 Edition CEC-400-1985-001, formerly CEC-400-84-007

1986 Building Energy Efficiency Standards CEC-400-1986-001, formerly CEC-400-86-009

1987 Building Energy Efficiency Standards CEC-400-1987-001, formerly CEC-400-88-001 1987 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: 1988 Supplement CEC-400-1987-001-SP, formerly CEC-400-88-001S

1988 Building Energy Efficiency Standards CEC-400-1988-001, formerly CEC-400-88-001

1992 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: Residential and Nonresidential Buildings CEC-400-1992-001, formerly CEC-400-92-001

1995 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: Residential and Nonresidential Buildings CEC-400-1995-001, formerly CEC-400-95-001

1998 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Adopted Amendments to 1998 Building Energy Efficiency Standards 1998 Residential Compliance Manual 1998 Residential Compliance Forms 1998 Nonresidential Compliance Manual 1998 Nonresidential Compliance Forms

2001 2001 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Associated Documents and Filings to 2001 Building Energy Efficiency Standards 2001 Residential Compliance Manual 2001 Residential Compliance Forms 2001 Nonresidential Compliance Manual 2001 Nonresidential Compliance Forms

2005 2005 Building Energy Efficiency Standards The 2005 Standards were adopted by the California Energy Commission on November 5, 2003, and approved by the Building Standards Commission on July 21, 2004.

Addendum to Joint Appendix IV Approved Alternative Construction Assemblies 2005 Residential Compliance Manual 2005 Nonresidential Compliance Manual 2005 Residential ACM Approval Manual 2005 Nonresidential ACM Approval Manual 2005 Joint Appendices Rulemaking for 2005 Building Energy Efficiency Standards #03-BSTD-1 Notices for Rulemaking for 2005 Building Energy Efficiency Standards #03-BSTD-1 Workshops & Associated Documents for Pre-Rulemaking for 2005 Building Energy Efficiency Standards #01-BSTD-1 2005 Computer Compliance Programs

2008 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards The 2008 Standards were adopted by the California Energy Commission on April 23, 2008, and approved by the California Building Standards Commission on September 11, 2008.

Residential Compliance Manual Nonresidential Compliance Manual 2008 Standards Related Documents Online Learning Center - 2008 Energy Videos Center - 2008

2008 Code[edit]

The Energy Commission adopted the 2008 Standards on April 23, 2008, and the Building Standards Commission approved them for publication on September 11, 2008. The 2008 Residential Compliance Manual was adopted by the Commission on December 17, 2008, and the 2008 Non-residential Compliance Manual was adopted January 14, 2009.

The requirement for when the 2008 standards must be followed is dependent on when the application for the building permit is submitted. If the application for the building permit is submitted on or after 1/1/10, the 2008 standards must be met.

The Energy Commission adopted the 2008 changes to the Building Energy Efficiency Standards for a number of compelling reasons:

1.To provide California with an adequate, reasonably-priced, and environmentally-sound supply of energy.

2.To respond to Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which mandates that California must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

3.To pursue California energy policy that energy efficiency is the resource of first choice for meeting California's energy needs.

4.To act on the findings of California's Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) that Standards are the most cost effective means to achieve energy efficiency, expects the Building Energy Efficiency Standards to continue to be upgraded over time to reduce electricity and peak demand, and recognizes the role of the Standards in reducing energy related to meeting California's water needs and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

5.To meet the West Coast Governors' Global Warming Initiative commitment to include aggressive energy efficiency measures into updates of state building codes.

6.To meet the Executive Order in the Green Building Initiative to improve the energy efficiency of nonresidential buildings through aggressive standards.

California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger challenged CEC in 2008 to attain Zero Net Energy by 2020 for California Residential Building Code & similar for CA Nonresidential Building Code by 2030.All these standards and goals can be found generally in 'Cal Green' and are set in section 11 of Title 24.California state is a huge and densely populated place.So Schwarzenegger had presumed to make California a leader in energy efficiency by bringing market impact on US economy.He also wanted to be standardize in Europe,Canada and elsewhere in US[2].

2013 Code[edit]

2013 Residential Compliance Manual & Forms 2013 Nonresidential Compliance Manual & Forms

Evolution of Requirements (Energy Efficiency Comparison-California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (California Energy Code 2013) and ASHREA/IESNA Standard 90.1-2010 )[5][edit]

The federal law has been defined to adapt an energy code which is as energy efficient as the federal reference model energy code.Department of Energy(DOE) is always authorized to compare and discover more stringency of newly adopted energy code from its predecessor.Stringency of California 2013 energy code for Non residential buildings has been also checked by comparing it with ASHRAE/IESNA standard 90.1-2010.The comparison has been done for energy simulation from DOE specified list of "Prototype Building Models".The comparison is also happened in between California Forecasted Construction and DOE prototype buildings.There are 17 different prototypes building models, each representing a different ASHRAE climate zone(1-8) or sub zone(A,B or C).

"Results of the analysis show that California's 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for Non residential buildings to be more stringent that ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2010.Non residential buildings that are built in California after 2014 estimated to use total of 27804 GBtu of Time Dependent Valuation energy compared to 31486 GBtu of Time Dependent Valuation energy for building constructed under the ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2010.California's nonresidential energy standards contain building measures and building performance operation impacts that are more rigorous,resulting in higher efficiency requirements of the federal reference energy code".

2016 Code[edit]

The 2016 California Energy Code consists of nine subchapters plus Appendix 1-A and is 150 pages long.[6][7]

The 2016 Residential and Nonresidential compliance manuals available from the California Energy Commission,[8] which detail how the 2016 CEC is to be applied, are 518 pages and 875 pages long respectively.

Residential Compliance Manual 2016(2016 Residential Compliance Manual and Documents CEC-400-2015-032-CMF [9]) has 9 chapters with Appendix A-G.It includes chapters for Introduction,Compliance and Enforcement,Building envelope requirements,Building HVAC requirements,Water Heating requirements,Residential Lighting,Solar Ready,Performance Method,Additions,Alterations and Repairs.Appendices include chapters like Natural Gas Appliance Testing Standards , Eligibility Criteria for Radiant Barriers,Requirement Diagrams for Selected Residential HVAC HERS Measures,Field Verification of Zonally Controlled Systems and Verification of Existing Features of a Home for Existing+Addition+Alteration Performance Approach.

2016 Nonresidential Compliance Manual(2016 Nonresidential Compliance Manual and Documents CEC-400-2015-033-CMF [10]) has the informative chapters like Introduction,Compliance and Enforcement,Building Envelope,Mechanical Systems,Nonresidential Indoor Lighting,Outdoor Lighting,Sign Lighting,Electrical Power Distribution,Solar Ready,Covered Processes,Performance Approach,Building Commissioning Guide,Acceptance Requirements.Appendices give details on forms and excerpts from the Appliance Efficiency Regulations.

New features has been added in compliance which are listed below[11] :

  • Compliance manual results in Table C give a check for inputs on the first page and will indicate whether project "COMPLIES".
  • Selection limit in drop-down menus and table options are included in 2016 version to give better guidance for compliant designs.

Guidance on navigating and applying the requirements of the 2016 CEC is available through Energy Code Ace.[12] Energy Code Ace’s ‘Reference Ace’ tool helps users navigate the Title 24, Part 6 Standards documents. Features like "pop-up" definitions of defined terms, key word search capabilities and hyperlinks that allow you to jump directly to related sections make using the Standards documents easier.

CEC 2016 has defined U factor for walls. All walls in all the climate zones must have U factor 0.065, which is an R value of about 15. In order to meet the code requirement, continuous exterior insulation is used, sometimes with a cement plaster cladding.

2019 Code[edit]

Version of 2019 California Energy Code(Building Energy Efficiency Standards) has been adopted by California Energy Commission.2019 version of code is going to be break through.This version of code becomes effective from 1st January,2020.The adoption is made for new construction of homes.The spotlight would be on such areas like Smart residential Photo voltaic Systems,Updated thermal envelope standards,Residential & Non residential requirements , Non residential lighting requirements.It will give surely a major improvement in indoor quality of outdoor & indoor sources[13].

Construction of new homes which will be built under this code are about 53% less energy than which are built under 2016 Code.Non residential buildings have been estimated to use almost 30% lesser energy due to lighting upgrades with these new standards.The residential home owners will save $80 per month for Heating , Cooling and Lighting Bills.The buildings those Californians buy will be less costly to maintain.The Indoor Air Quality(IAQ) will be more healthier.This code will also provide a market for 'smart' technologies that will lead California for a lower emissions future[13].

2019 Version has 1st time added PV system requirements for Low-Rise residential buildings in Section 150.1(c)14.Size reduction in PV systems has been given for exceptions[11].

Section 140.6 will give largest savings for energy in 2019 energy code because lighting power density are not based on linear fluoroscent lamps.They actually relied on energy consumption of LEDs[11].

2019 Energy Code has fewer & simpler Non residential forms.Energy Commission has achieved their one of the goals from reducing 47 forms to 10 forms of Non Residential Certificates of Compliance(NRCC).Each building component will have only one dynamic form like mechanical,lighting,envelope etc.Some dynamic forms have been posted and some will be posted in future.They all are listed below[11]:

  • Electric Power Distribution
  • Outdoor Lighting
  • Indoor Lighting
  • Sign Lighting
  • Solar Ready
  • Commissioning
  • Envelope
  • Covered Processes
  • Mechanical
  • Water Heating

United States is going to be the first country to apply the building energy efficiency standards to reduce the effect of greenhouse gas emissions by taking off the road about 115000 fossil fuel cars.

The Energy Commission has also approved 2018-2019 investment plans for Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program(ARFVTP).

The 2019 Version is now available for review[11].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 California Energy Code, Title 24, Part 6". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  2. ^ a b [( ?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1) "Understanding California's 2016 Energy Code: Title 24 / Section 6"] Check |url= value (help).
  3. ^ [( ?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1) "Title 24/Section 6 - What do the standards look alike?"] Check |url= value (help).
  4. ^ "California Energy Commission".
  5. ^ "Energy Efficiency Comparison-California's Building Energy Efficiency Standards (California Energy Code 2013) and ASHREA/IESNA Standard 90.1-2010" (PDF).
  6. ^ 2016 California energy code : California code of regulations, Title 24, Part 6. California Building Standards Commission,, International Code Council,. Washington, D.C. ISBN 9781609836573. OCLC 956322389.
  7. ^ "TABLE OF CONTENTS | 2016 California Energy Code, Part 6 | ICC publicACCESS". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  8. ^ Standards, California Energy Commission 2016 Building Energy Efficiency. "2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards - California Energy Commission". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  9. ^ Commission, California Energy. "2016 Residential Compliance Manual". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  10. ^ Commission, California Energy. "2016 Nonresidential Compliance Manual". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Blueprint California Energy Commission-Issue 123" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Energy Code Ace - Tools Ace". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  13. ^ a b [( "California Energy Code 2019 – Energy commission adopts standards requiring solar systems for new homes, First in Nation"] Check |url= value (help).

External links[edit]