The California Energy Commission today unanimously approved upgraded building energy efficiency standards that one commissioner called "the strongest in the nation."
The new standards, which take effect Jan. 1, 2014, include a host of common-sense standards designed to save energy, from insulating hot-water pipes to making sure that air conditioner installations are inspected for sufficient air flow.
But the proposed standards also require new homes and commercial buildings to have "solar ready roofs" -- a mandatory requirement that will be a boon for the state's growing rooftop solar industry.
The new energy efficiency standards are supported by investor-owned utilities, such asSouthern California Edison Co.; environmental groups; and two major business groups, the California Building Industry Assn., which represents 90% of home builders, and the California Business Properties Assn., which lobbies for commercial building owners.
Residential requirements include solar-ready roofs, hot water pipe insulation and independent air-conditioning inspections. For nonresidential buildings, requirements include sensor-based lighting controls and more energy-efficient refrigeration equipment for supermarkets, commercial kitchens and computer data centers.
Photo: Building Green