Energy code stresses solar, stops short of requiring new homes to be all-electric | News

The California Energy Commission passed standards on Wednesday that require all new commercial buildings to be equipped with solar panels and large batteries.

But the Commission has failed to power new homes by not using natural gas heating and cooking.

The standards were adopted as part of the Building Energy Efficiency Standards 2022 or the Energy Code, which regulates which energy practices can be used in the state. The code applies to newly constructed and renovated buildings.

The standards are adopted every three years. Households and businesses use nearly 70 percent of the state’s energy and are responsible for 25 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, the commission said.

Buildings have a profound impact on our health, the environment and the economy. In the future, they will use less energy and emit fewer pollutants while still being comfortable and healthy, ”said Commissioner J. Andrew McAllister, Chief Commissioner for Energy Efficiency. “The 2022 Energy Code firmly aligns California buildings with the clean, low-carbon technology that is the foundation on which our common journey rests. This foundation will help the state to achieve its critical long-term climate and CO2 neutrality goals. “

The code will be presented to the California Building Standards Commission, which will review the standards in December. If approved, the standards will go into effect on January 1, 2023, giving the construction industry a year to adapt to the changes.

The code has four main areas. The need for new commercial buildings, including high-rise apartments, with solar panels and large batteries is one of the areas. The commission stated that this standard is intended to continue the state’s progress towards a 100 percent clean power grid.

The standard also requires small businesses and schools to have solar panels.

In relation to final electrical installation of houses, which was another important area, the move away from gas-powered water heaters and the use of electric pump technology for space and water heaters has only been encouraged and not mandatory in new homes, heat pumps use less energy and cause fewer emissions.

While the commission stopped making new homes all-electric, it noted that it is “establishing electrical requirements for single-family homes to enable owners to use cleaner electric heating, cooking and charging options for electric vehicles when they do decide to adopt this ”. Technologies. “

The fourth major area address was the strengthening of ventilation standards to improve indoor air quality. As part of this provision, all new homes would require larger volume ventilators.

The effects of climate change are accelerating and there is an even greater need for buildings that are comfortable, efficient and resilient, ”said the Commission. “Each updated code guides the construction of buildings to better withstand extreme weather conditions, lower energy costs and reduce climate and air pollution.”

The commission stated that the 2022 Energy Code is expected to deliver $ 1.5 billion in consumer benefits over the next 30 years. The commission also stated that the code aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons during this period, the equivalent of removing 2.2 million cars a year from roads.

The expanded introduction of new energy efficient technologies will help reduce the cost of the technology over time, ”the Commission stated.

The Commission adopted the code unanimously. With final approval, an important standard of the code would require 240-volt outlets to be in every new home so that homeowners can install electric vehicle chargers and large household batteries.

Environmentalists weren’t entirely happy with the code as it wasn’t content with essentially requiring the retirement of natural gas appliances.

However, it is expected that if the code is updated in three years, a mandate to make all new homes fully electric will definitely be possible. At the moment the builders have stated that they are satisfied that this is not yet necessary.

The California Building Industry Association officially took a neutral stance on the Commission’s actions.

As the new standards, which are supposed to be more electric, come into effect, there will likely also be proposals for grants and discounts to meet the requirements.

Not surprisingly, the solar industry welcomed the Commission’s action to make solar cells mandatory in many new buildings.

“Rather than dealing with our challenges with ongoing blackouts, the new Commission standards give Californians resilience and greater opportunity to meet the demands of the power grid of the 21st Leta, SunPower Policy and Strategy Leader, in a press release.

“This foundation will help the state to achieve its critical long-term climate and CO2 neutrality goals,” said the commission of its actions.

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