New California Building Code Requires Specific Solar Zones on All Roofs

2051

A new building code in California represents the biggest change in the California Building Code since its inception in 1978. In addition to a number of other measures, the new code requires all roofs to set aside specific zones for solar electric or solar water heating systems.

California, a leader in pioneering environmental policies, is embarking on a bold plan to dramatically improve the efficiency of all buildings statewide. And that plan includes solar.

On July 1, new Building Energy Efficiency Standards will become mandatory throughout California. The new code, known as Title 24, Part 6, represents the biggest change in the California Building Code since its inception in 1978.

Promise Energy, a provider of solar and sustainability solutions for commercial and multifamily projects, has been educating industry stakeholders and nonprofits on how to successfully navigate these new requirements.

“There is clearly an enormous interest among many business sectors about how the new sustainability and efficiency requirements will impact real estate development,” said Andy Mannle, Promise Energy’s VP of Strategic Development, in a statement.

“It is clear that the rules of development are about to change. Efficiency and sustainability are becoming key drivers on all commercial real estate projects in California. With the State’s goal of making all new buildings net zero energy in the near future, integrated design and collaboration are becoming essential to delivering projects in a streamlined cost-effective manner,” said Adam Boucher, Promise Energy’s CEO.

The new Title 24 requirements include a range of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency and environmental quality in the built environment. In addition to a number of other measures, the new code requires all roofs to set aside specific zones for solar electric or solar water heating systems.

It’s not just technologies that are changing, “It’s the way the industry operates,” said Charlie Kuffner, Chief Operating Officer for Promise Energy and a 30-year veteran of the construction industry. “Buildings are being asked to account for the energy they use, and building professionals are being held accountable for energy consumption in the projects they design and develop.”

It remains to be seen how changes of this magnitude will impact the development community, and the growth of California’s construction and solar sectors.

“What is clear,” says Boucher, “is that even though California has a long history of implementing cutting-edge environmental policies, the changes taking place in 2014 are just the beginning of a monumental shift toward cleaner energy, smarter buildings, and healthier communities.”

The new building code could set the stage for similar developments around the country. Where California goes, so goes the rest of the nation — especially when it comes to solar.