As of January 1, 2020, the California Energy Code will now incorporate Occupancy Group “I”. Currently, California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) governs energy compliance within institutional buildings such as hospitals, but starting next year, such projects must follow the California Energy Commission’s Title 24, Part 6 Energy Code.

There are two divisions of the I Occupancy group to be aware of: I-1 and I-2. Occupancy I-1 shall include but not be limited to group homes, alcohol & drug centers, and assisted living facilities. Occupancy I-2 shall include but not be limited to hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and foster care facilities. Occupancies I-1 and I-2 will now be subject to California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards. These will include practices such as:

  • Envelope building construction
  • Indoor and outdoor lighting control requirements
  • HVAC sizing
  • Water heating efficiency requirements

Since hospitals are 24-hour facilities, their energy profiles are very large. Lighting and HVAC will receive more automatic shutoff controls than traditionally seen under OSHPD. It’s highly advisable that an energy model and MEP design review be incorporated as early as possible in the design process. The energy model can help guide decisions as the project enters the construction documents phase and avoid costly delays.

For more information about California code updates and how to prepare for them, contact Moe Fakih below:

Moe Fakih, Principal
VCA Green

Contributing Writer: Michael Glincman, LEED AP Homes