Moving to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50%, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has adopted building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020. The building energy efficiency standards, which are the first in the nation to require solar, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil-fuel cars off the road, CEC said.
On average, the 2019 standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about $9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years, the Energy Commission said. For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment, but save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.
The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which take effect on 1 January 2020, focus on four key areas:
Smart residential photovoltaic systems.
Updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa).
Residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements. The ventilation measures improve indoor air quality, protecting homeowners from air pollution originating from outdoor and indoor sources. For the first time, the standards also establish requirements for newly constructed healthcare facilities.
Nonresidential lighting requirements. Under the new standards, nonresidential buildings will use about 30% less energy due mainly to lighting upgrades.
The Energy Commission also approved the 2018-2019 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), which invests in alternative and renewable fuel and advanced vehicle technologies. Now in its 10th year, the program has invested more than $750 million in 615 projects covering a broad spectrum of alternative fuels and technologies.