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Title 24 California
VCA Green is an energy efficiency and energy code services company with deep experience in building engineering and operations. We bridge the theory of energy performance with practical solutions that deliver return on investment. It’s not uncommon to realize 20% to 30% savings in operational efficiency with non-capital intense solutions.
Title 24 Part 6 Energy Code is administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC), which also drafts and updates the energy code every three years. California has the most aggressive energy code regulation in the nation, and as a result, the State consumes less energy per square foot of building compared to the nation. Ultimately, if done correctly, energy efficiency also benefits the owner’s bottom line (see chart below).
Title 24 Energy Code can be very confusing due to the volume of requirements within the code, and mostly to the compliance process.
1. Design Drawings – Architectural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Renewable Energy design drawings must be crafted to meet specific code items. These code measures must be clearly addressed so that City Officials, General Contractors and Subcontractors can correctly interpret the construction drawings.
2. Title 24 Energy Modeling – The systems identified in the drawings must be run through State compliance modeling software in order to meet the minimum energy budget for the project. Building envelope, domestic hot water, mechanical cooling and mechanical heating are utilized as the baseline. Lighting, plug and process loads are identified, but credit cannot be taken for efficiencies in those categories; however, as of January 1, 2020, credits will be assigned for the lighting power adjustment factor when daylighting is utilized.
3. Compliance Paths – Title 24 Part 6 (the Energy Code) has mandatory, prescriptive, and performance paths. Mandatory measures must be met. The prescriptive path is less flexible for new construction but may be effective and is more applicable to additions and alterations. Almost all new construction projects pursue the performance path since it offers the greatest amount of flexibility towards compliance. Your project can opt for larger windows if you improve the efficiency of your cooling systems, for example.
4. Field Compliance – Once the building plans and energy model have been completed and accepted by the authority having jurisdiction, energy consuming systems must be tested for performance. The energy code will require projects to show compliance through HERS (Home Efficiency Rating System) Testing, Building Commissioning, and Acceptance Testing. A separate set of forms for these field tests are identified in the Title 24 design documents, and it is critical that the construction team members familiarize themselves with which tests have been triggered. Not completing these steps could delay certificates of occupancy or cause a warranty issue if the systems are not functioning as intended after occupancy.
VCA Green can review plans for Title 24 energy compliance, provide Title 24 energy modeling services, and implement Title 24 field compliance testing. It is important that these moving pieces are coordinated with the design team, and, due to increasing complexities, developers and architects are increasingly utilizing Title 24 energy consultants. The design team can focus on design while the energy modeling consultant helps to align energy systems for compliance, first cost considerations, and optimizations towards operational efficiency.