California has always been a leader when it comes to environmental issues. As an example of this commitment to continued environmental responsibility, California will be soon be requiring all new homes to incorporate advanced efficiency measures and rooftop solar — in an historic development for clean energy in the state.
A recent vote by California Energy Commission (CEC) was unanimous in its adoption of the new policy as part of the state’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards, following more than two years of work with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the technical requirements.
The new standards are expected to result in a 53 percent reduction in energy use over the existing code which should end up saving Californians $1.7 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years.
The new rules apply specifically to all new residences and major home renovations on buildings under three stories, starting on January 1, 2020. There is also an allowance for buildings that aren’t suitable for the roof top installations, they would be required to have access to community solar or offset energy usage through additional efficiency gains, while some homes may be exempt.
The standards will also offer credit for solar capacity combined with on-site energy storage. The current standards offer a solar-only credit, allowing for a tradeoff between solar power and energy efficiency.
For the homebuilders, the new standard will offer options in how they comply with the new solar mandate. Builders will be given a choice of either rolling development costs into a mortgage, offer the customer a lease, or present another type of financing product. The decision will ultimately come down to what the customer wants.
The ultimate goal of this new legislation is to reduce energy consumption provided by traditional sources in favor of greener renewable power. It will be a win for the environment as well as for the consumer through lower energy costs.