The California Energy Code is just as important as any other part of Title 24, and during design and construction, small mistakes can add up to sizable costs in the development and lifespan of a building. Starting with preliminary energy modeling and ending with construction, there are several critical questions that should be asked along the way to avoid potential delays in permitting, gaining your Certificate of Occupancy, and ultimately saving time and money as a result.
1. What affects the model?
Knowing how the energy model can be influenced through the systems, materials, and design methods chosen for your project can greatly affect the performance of your building. Properly sizing your systems and choosing efficient materials can push the budget if not carefully selected. It’s important to work with your energy modeler and closely examine the Title 24 documentation produced through the energy model. If one or two features of your model go unnoticed during the design process, it may result in CofO delays if your project hasn’t met the correct compliance measures triggered through the model
2. Do the models match the plans?
In addition to the above, an energy model by itself is not enough to show Energy Code compliance within any jurisdiction. If the plans for the rest of the building don’t match the items specified in your energy model, plan checkers reserve the right to disallow permitting on that basis alone. Consistency is extremely important for both design and construction purposes, so when your energy model has been finalized, make sure the rest of the plans have matching notes and schedules regarding the systems and materials chosen for the model. Not only does this ensure a speedy plan check process, but the general contractor will have no issues installing equipment and materials that are consistent with those specified in the plans
3. Are the windows labeled?
It may seem minor, but window labeling during construction is not just an Energy Code requirement; it’s a federal law. When inspection day comes and your windows don’t have their labels clearly visible for the inspector to see, your CofO can be denied until this is corrected. It is highly suggested that your architectural plans include language in the general notes for the general contractor to keep labels on the windows until the spaces are occupied. Labeling won’t damage the glass as they’re designed to stay on the surface of the window for long periods of time, so don’t worry about repairs or cleaning costs after taking them off.
VCA Green offers energy model services to ensure that your buildings are as efficient as they can be within your design goals and that you get through plan check and inspection with minimal issues. If you would be interested in services like these, please contact Moe Fakih or Glen Folland below.
Contributing Writer: Burke Boydell, LEED GA
Moe Fakih, Principal
Glen Folland, Associate Director