Title 24 Information
If you’re building a new home or plan to update your bathroom with a new fan, you’ve already—or soon will—come across Title 24.
Title 24 refers to a huge body of law from the California State Building Code. Also known as The Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings, Title 24 was first established in 1984 as a response to a legislative mandate to reduce California’s energy consumption. These standards are updated every few years to consider possible incorporation of the newest energy efficient technologies and methods. Title 24 was last updated in 2005, and is set for another update in 2008.
These efficiency standards (along with those for energy-efficient appliances) have saved Californians more than $56 billion in electricity and natural costs since 1978. It’s estimated the standards will save an additional $23 billion by the year 2013.
What does this mean to me?
When building department personnel mention “Title 24,” they’re likely referring only to its sub-sections that deal with specifically with energy efficiency. What’s often referred to as Title 24 could more accurately be called California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES). This part of the Building Code requires a minimum level of energy efficiency for new construction. The Code is dense and quite complicated, since it allows all sorts of tradeoffs between different energy efficiency measures in the name of construction flexibility.
You’ll want to consult the current version of Title 24 before installing your bath fan. For additional information, please refer to the California Energy Commission or the California Building Standards Commission Web sites.
How is Title 24 enforced?
Title 24 is enforced by the local or county building department with jurisdiction over your property. Sometimes, plan-check is contracted to a private company. For these reasons, enforcement is very spotty and unpredictable.
Theoretically, you cannot get a building permit for a project covered by BEES (Title 24) until a signed energy compliance report has been deemed correct by a plan-checker. Again, in theory, a field inspector, or inspectors, will check your Title 24 report against your construction at each inspection. In practice, enforcement is never perfect and is often only cursory. Some energy saving measures require third-party, Home Energy Rating System (HERS) inspection. In contrast to the Title 24 enforcers, HERS inspections are usually quite meticulous.
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