Summer is fast approaching, and that means the current triennial code cycle for CALGreen is coming to a close in the near future. Like with any other code update, there are several significant factors that must be considered while designing your upcoming development projects. Some of these code changes are minor, but others may impact your design strategies and costs. Here are the five things you can expect from the CALGreen 2019 code cycle.
1. EV Parking Under the 2016 code cycle, all new multifamily projects with 17 or more dwelling units which provide residential parking to the occupants must prewire 3% of these spaces for future EV charging station installation. This number will increase to 10% in the 2019 code cycle and the dwelling unit threshold will be removed, so this will undoubtedly affect the cost of providing electrical infrastructure for the requisite amount of spaces on your project as it will soon apply to ALL multifamily projects that provide residential parking. (Nonresidential parking will not be affected by this update.)
2. Water Reuse Systems This is technically not “new” as it was added in the mid-code cycle update on July 1st, 2018, but this once reserved portion of the code is now occupied with a requirement that all new residential projects that are within 200 feet of a municipally supplied reclaimed water system must connect to that supply unit. The important thing to note here is that while the CALGreen language does not explicitly require the use of this water supply, it may be required based on the authority having jurisdiction’s determination. Make sure to carefully read your Conditions of Approval and local code sections to see if this code requirement is enhanced by any additional regional measures.
3. Outdoor Potable Water Use The 2016 CALGreen code requires that all outdoor landscape irrigation areas measuring 500 square feet or more must adhere to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). This ordinance primarily only affected larger multifamily projects in the past, but starting January 1st, 2019, all residential developments will be required to adhere to these calculations and have them shown on the construction plan set. This ordinance is intended to reduce the amount of potable water used for landscape irrigation purposes, so even if you’re developing a small single family home with a 200 square foot lawn, your outdoor water calculations must be demonstrated as compliant on your landscape plans.
4. ACCA Manual J, D, & S This is a relatively minor update but can still be important depending on the project. ACCA Manual J, D, & S are a series of duct and HVAC system sizing measures used to calculate the appropriate duct and energy calculations. For the 2013 and 2016 code cycles, the 2011 versions of these measures were the compliant benchmark to match, but in 2019, the 2016 version of these standards will be the minimum threshold. This means that your systems will have to be sized more appropriately for your project than ever before, and this can severely limit your system selections. How this fully affects your budget is yet to be determined, but it may require a more stringent product selection process which can affect your product submittal turnaround time.
5. Tier 1 & 2 Changes Although typically considered voluntary by default, some jurisdictions may require new residential projects to adhere to certain Tier 1 or Tier 2 CALGreen requirements. As such, there are various changes to the language of these sections in the 2019 code update that developers should be aware about. For example, Tier 1 will now require renewable energy installation as opposed to exceed the energy code by 15% as in previous code cycles. Some cities may require the performance of third party QII from a qualified HERS Rater and reference the adopted Tier 1 or Tier 2 requirement for it, even if it was designed to be factored out of the energy model. This may work in your favor as QII will become prescriptively required in 2019 as well, so if you must utilize it on your project by law, then you may save on hard costs and make the design process simpler for you and your team.