June 15, 2012 in CSR
New homes and commercial buildings in California will become much more energy efficient in 2014. The California Energy Commission announced new energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings the end of last month. The Energy Commission’s 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards will go into effect on January 1, 2014. The Standards are 25 percent more efficient than past standards for residential construction, and 30 percent better for commercial construction.
Although the Standards will increase the construction cost, on average, of a new home by $2,290, they will save $6,200 in energy costs over 30 years. Based on a 30-year mortgage, the Standards will add about $11 a month for the average home, but save homeowners $27 in electricity costs. After 30 years of implementation, the Standards will save California almost 14,000 megawatt hours (mWh), enough to power 1.7 million homes, and avoid the need to build six new power plants. In addition, they will add up to 3,500 new building industry jobs in the first year of implementation, and save millions of gallons of water a year.
“Improving the energy efficiency of buildings in which we will live and work will save Californians energy for decades,” said Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas. “These Standards will help save consumers money on their utility bills, keep them comfortable in their homes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through better, more efficient buildings.”
Some of the improved measures include:
- Solar-ready roofs to allow homeowners to add solar photovoltaic panels at a future date
- More efficient windows to allow increased sunlight, while decreasing heat gain
- Insulated hot water pipes, to save water and energy and reduce the time it takes to deliver hot water
- Whole house fans to cool homes and attics with evening air reducing the need for air conditioning load
- Air conditioner installation verification to insure efficient operation
- High performance windows, sensors and controls that allow buildings to use “daylighting”
- Efficient process equipment in supermarkets, computer data centers, commercial kitchens, laboratories, and parking garages
- Advanced lighting controls to synchronize light levels with daylight and building occupancy, and provide demand response capability
- Solar-ready roofs to allow businesses to add solar photovoltaic panels at a future date
- Cool roof technologies
Both environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and utility companies like Pacific, Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) approve of the Standards.
“These standards are wildly cost effective and will ensure every new building constructed in the state is an energy efficient one,” said Noah Horowitz, Senior Scientist at the NRDC. “The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supports the adoption of these standards as they represent the first step towards California reaching its statewide goal of achieving Zero Net Energy homes by 2020.”
“The California Energy Commission’s work on building standards is integral to California’s long-standing leadership in energy efficiency,” said Steve Malnight, Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E. “The building standards adopted today, which represent a balancing of many interests, are a cost-effective way to help customers save money on their energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”