> FOCUS CALIFORNIA’S TITLE 24 UPDATE
In bedrooms, for example, dimmers are allowed with low
efficacy fixtures. In bathrooms, light sources must be high efficacy but may also be low efficacy if they are combined with a
manual-on vacancy sensor. The requirements for bathrooms
were also separated out from the requirements for utility
rooms, garages and hallways in the new standards. In the
2008 standards, the requirements for all of these rooms were
Also in the new standards, the requirements for utility
rooms, garages and hallways are stricter than they are for
bathrooms. Unlike the bathroom requirements, utility rooms,
garages and hallways must have high efficacy light sources and
vacancy sensors together. There are no allowances for preferences or human behavior in these areas of the home.
Clean air and less energy too
Lighting is not the only aspect of home energy
use affected by the new energy-efficiency
standards. The Title 24 update also
addresses air quality in the home.
Shirakh said that, while energy efficiency encourages a well-insulated home,
(mandatory) requirement to properly ventilate a
home and conserve energy. Such fans draw air in through open
windows and out through a ventilated attic, allowing occupants
to take advantage of temperature differentials in the evening
or morning, when the outside temperature is more desirable
than the temperature in the home (see page 32 for more on
Whole-house fans need open windows to function, and they
have a reputation for being noisy. As an alternative, some homeowners prefer smart vents or night breeze, two relatively new
forms of ventilation technology that use existing ductwork to
draw cool outside air into the home’s ventilation system without having to open windows. The new Title 24 standards allow
smart vents or night breeze as an alternative in the state’s climate zones 8 through 14.
In addition to ventilation, the benefit of these devices is
their role in energy conservation by enabling the homeowner
to cool the house down without having to use the HVAC’s compressor, which is much more energy-intensive.
Michael Kuhlman is president of RCS Technology, based
in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The company manufactures smart
vents and other energy-efficiency products for the home. He
said, “the time to ventilate is not the time to save energy.” That
is because, when outside temperatures are cooler, demand for
electricity for air conditioning begins to decline.
However, through a process Kuhlman called “intelligent
Solar power, EVs and water heaters
precooling,” a homeowner can take advantage of cooler out-
side temperatures to lower indoor temperatures and reduce
the need to use the air conditioning system later on in the day
during times of peak demand.
On the subject of hot temperatures, the 2013 Title 24 update
also addresses the growing popularity of solar power. While the
new standards do not require all homes to have solar panels,
guidelines take the necessary steps to ensure that the panels
can be easily placed on the roof and tied into the home’s electrical system should the owner opt to install solar-power later on.
Here again, the CEC has decided to take a moderately assertive approach.
“We can’t mandate solar because it’s too expensive,” Shirakh said, adding that the new standards require some things
to make sure that homes are at least solar ready.
Specifically, they mandate that each home have a dedicated
space on the roof of 250 square feet or more for the future installation of solar panels. A pathway for conduits for the necessary
wiring must also be identified, and the electrical panel must have
sufficient capacity—a minimum busbar rating of 200 amperes
(A)—and a reserved space at the opposite (load) end from the
input feeder location or main circuit location for a circuit breaker
to accommodate the future current from solar power.
Mike Hodgson, president and owner of Consol, an energy
consulting firm in Stockton, Calif., has been a frequent adviser to
the CEC on the revised standards. He said, that while the solar
provisions are progressive, they are not necessarily a big leap.
“The 200A panel is already the typical installation for new
single-family detached construction,” Hodgson said.
What may be more noteworthy, in his view, is a future
requirement that is not in the efficiency standards update.
Separate, but related to these standards, is the CalGreen
Code, which is represented by a different Part of Title 24. The
interim CalGreen Code, which goes into effect in 2015, will
require space in the 200A panel for a 40A (fully loaded) circuit
breaker for EV readiness, Hodgson said. ECs will want to know
that “when they install the 200A panel, they should have room
to accommodate this upcoming requirement.”
Hodgson also mentioned one last detail in the 2013 energy-efficiency standards update. This is a requirement for a 120-volt
outlet to be within 3 feet of the water heater. He said that this
is for future power requirements from water heaters as they
become more efficient and need power to vent their combustion byproducts.
All of the new energy-efficient standards in the Title 24
update apply to both new construction and remodels. The
only exceptions to this are the solar readiness requirements,
which only apply to new construction of subdivisions with 10
homes or more.
LAEZMAN is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been
covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. T H
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