Calif. Moves to Zero Net Energy Homes by 2020

June 25, 2015

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously this month to cut energy use in new homes by 28 percent – another big move toward inching closer to zero net energy new homes in the state within five years. A zero net energy building (ZNE) is one that produces as much energy as it consumes.

CEC's latest update to its building energy efficiency standards are designed to reduce regulated energy use and is expected to save consumers $31 a month compared to homes built under the current energy code, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The update in standards, known as "Title 24," will mostly apply to single-family homes and low-rise multifamily buildings. The standards set minimum energy saving requirements for new buildings and renovations in reducing energy used for lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation. The new standards call for such items as an increase in wall insulation, a reduction in lighting energy in homes by nearly half by requiring a high-efficacy bulbs (like CFL or LED) in every socket; and the use of tankless gas water heaters, or one that boasts equivalent energy performance.

The new standards will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

California has set a goal that all new residential buildings will be zero net energy by 2020. All new commercial buildings must meet that goal by 2030.

Source: "New California Building Efficiency Standards Set the Stage for Zero Net Energy Homes by 2020," NRDC Switchboard (Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog) (June 10, 2015)