Title 24 is the California energy code.

Title 24 Update: Impacts on Single-Family Buildings

Title 24, often referred to as the California Building Standards Code, has been at the forefront of building energy-efficiency regulations in the United States for years. The periodic updates to this code have significant implications for architects, builders, and homeowners. In this article, we’ll explore the recent updates to Title 24 and its specific impacts on single-family buildings.

Understanding Title 24’s Evolution

Since its inception in 1978, Title 24 has undergone several updates, each time pushing the envelope in energy-efficient design. The code’s intention has always been to ensure new and existing buildings achieve energy savings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote a sustainable environment.

Recent Updates to Title 24

The latest iteration of Title 24 has seen some critical changes. Some of the most noteworthy inclusions for single-family buildings include:

  1. Mandatory Solar Panels: For new constructions, solar panels have become a requirement in Title 24 compliance. This move aims to capitalize on California’s sunny climate and reduce dependency on non-renewable energy sources.
  2. Battery Storage Incentives: Title 24 update emphasizes not just the generation but also the storage of renewable energy. Homeowners are now incentivized to incorporate battery storage systems, ensuring energy availability even during non-sunny periods.
  3. Improved Window Insulation: Title 24 has set higher standards for window insulation to reduce energy loss, emphasizing the use of double-glazing and energy-efficient materials.
  4. Enhanced Lighting Requirements: New constructions now need to have a certain percentage of their lighting as high-efficacy fixtures, leading to significant energy savings in the long run.

Impacts on Single-Family Buildings

The recent updates, though progressive, come with their set of challenges and benefits:

  1. Initial Cost Implications: Homeowners and builders might experience higher upfront costs due to the inclusion of solar panels, improved insulation, and high-efficacy lighting. However, these costs can be offset by long-term energy savings.
  2. Increased Home Value: With the integration of renewable energy sources and efficient designs, homes are likely to have an increased market value. Buyers are often willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient homes.
  3. Long-term Energy Savings: As the new designs prioritize energy conservation, homeowners can expect significant reductions in their monthly utility bills.
  4. Reduced Carbon Footprint: By adhering to the new title 24 code, single-family homes will contribute significantly less to greenhouse gas emissions, promoting a healthier environment.
  5. Design Challenges: Architects and builders might initially face challenges integrating the new requirements without compromising on aesthetics and functional space. Yet, as the industry adapts, innovative design solutions will undoubtedly emerge.

Performance Compliance:

New energy design rating (EDR) metrics – EDR1, Title 24 Compliance now require meeting EDR1, efficiency EDR2, and total EDR2 separately.

Prescriptive Compliance:

Title 24 New Construction:

  • Space heating equipment must be a heat pump only in certain climate zone.
  • Water heating equipment must be an HPWH meeting certain criteria or a solar water heating system with an electric backup.
  • a gas instantaneous water heater in a certain climate zone is allowed if the space air conditioning unit is a heat pump
  • install a tankless electric water heater with point-of-use distribution is allowed in the new unit under 500 SF
  • a whole-house fan is not required in a new dwelling unit with a conditioned floor area under 500 SF

Title 24 Additions and Alterations:

  • Duct leakage testing is required for any extension of the existing ducting system.
  • Space heating for addition requires to be a heat pump or gas heating system.
  • Overall assembly title 24 U- Factor has been changed In many California climate zones
  • If wood-framed, may install insulation of R-38 or greater.
  • Whole-dwelling mechanical ventilation is not required for Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU) when complying as an addition to an existing building
  • Water heater options for additions updated for more specificity across all types.
  • Duct leakage testing is required in certain HVAC duct alterations.
  • HPWHs are allowed for alterations in all climate zones.
  • Cool roof requirements expanded to additional climate zonesfor alterations.
  • New roof and vented attic ceiling insulation requirements for alterations
  • Revised IAQ and mechanical exhaust requirements.
  • Alterations that add door areas must meet prescriptive U-factor requirements.