The regulations for building an energy-efficient house are changing in the Golden State. Standards for the energy efficiency of buildings in 2013 changed with a vote of the California Energy Commission, its news release announces.
What is the target date for implementing the new building rules?
The Los Angeles Times notes that these new construction rules become mandatory as of Jan. 1, 2014.
How do future residential construction projects comply?
Building an energy-efficient home now requires standard installation of a whole house fan, insulation of hot water pipes, usage of energy-efficient windows, and the provision of a photovoltaic panel-ready roof. Another new aspect is a mandatory air conditioner installation inspection that focuses on efficient appliance operation.
What do commercial contractors have to do to comply in future construction projects?
To facilitate the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in 2014, new construction must employ cool roof technology that is also solar panel-ready. Lighting technology must be quick to respond to daylight availability and the presence of users. Windows must fall into a high-performance category, while all "process equipment" features an efficiency rating.
Will this rule change increase the cost of real estate construction in California?
The California Energy Commission estimates that building an energy-efficient home will now be $2,290 more expensive. At the same time, over the life of the home -- set at 30 years -- these mandatory upgrades result in about $6,200 in saved energy.
When was the last time that the commission changed California's efficiency rules for home construction?
In 2008, the commission updated its 2005 standards. For example, the 2008 Standards note that only hot water pipes coming from the heating source and going to the kitchen fixtures require thermal insulation; in addition, there are various exceptions to the insulation rule.
How do opponents and supporters of the California Energy Commission's new standards react?
"Given the [weak] economy, we would have preferred that the California Energy Commission not make any changes this time around, but they've got some ambitious goals to meet by 2020,"a California Building Industry Association member told the L.A. Times. A member of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association criticized the commission for using inadequate financial estimates when advocating the installation of cool roof technology, which in turn could be distorting the estimated future cost savings to the homeowner. "These standards are wildly cost effective and will ensure every new building constructed in the state is an energy-efficient one," the commission quotes a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Will the changes to the energy efficiency of buildings have an impact on California's economy?
The California Energy Commission estimates that during the first 12 months of implementation, the construction industry is "projected to add up to 3,500 new building industry jobs."
Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.
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