Control & Automation

New, Tougher Title 24 Energy Standards Take Effect in California

California's new Title 24 energy standard took effect on July 1 calling for a 25 percent reduction in residential lighting, HVAC and water use. Specific sections address lighting control compliance, including requirement to create a homeowner's manual of documentation. The law adds $2,000 to typical home construction costs.

Integrators across California must comply with new tougher energy management requirements for new homes based on the state's updated Title 24 law that is now in effect.
Jason Knott · July 2, 2014
That compliance entails completing documentation forms, reports and other information that are submitted to the local code enforcement agency with an application for a building permit. It also includes documentation completed by the contractor or subcontractors to verify that certain systems and equipment have been correctly installed. It may include reports and test results by third-party inspectors (for LEED or HERS raters).

Ultimately, the compliance documentation is included with a homeowner’s manual so that the end user knows what energy features are installed in the house. Compliance documentation is completed at the building permit phase, the construction phase, the field verification and diagnostic testing phase, and at the final phase.

HVAC Details

For HVAC, homes with central air conditioning/heating must have setback thermostats that have a minimum of four programmable time periods during a 24-hour cycle. A single thermostat can control two separate heating/cooling sources, or there can be individual thermostats. “Credits” are given for multi-zone systems. Each sleeping zone and “living zone” must have individual temperature sensors. Bathrooms, laundry, halls and/or dressing rooms are not considered habitable rooms. If a home has non-closeable openings between living areas and sleeping areas, there cannot be a gap of more than 40 square feet between the HVAC zones.

It is advisable for all California integrators to reference the entire Residential Compliance Code document.

Another section of the document refers to “solar ready roofs” to accommodate future installations of solar photovoltaic panels. This is the first time photovoltaics are included as a compliance option. 

To help the industry meet the 2013 standards, the Energy Commission developed public domain software to assist with compliance called the California Building Energy Code Compliance (CBECC) software that is a free, open-source program that models residential and nonresidential buildings, giving businesses a better understanding of what is required to be in compliance.

“The development, adoption and roll out of the 2013 Title 24 standards have been a major priority for the Energy Commission,” McAllister continues. “They are a critical piece of any strategy for California to reach our emission reduction targets in 2020 and beyond.”

California’s first building energy efficiency standards went into effect in 1978. The standards are periodically updated to allow new energy efficient technologies and construction methods for consideration and incorporation. The standards will save energy, increase electricity supply reliability, increase indoor comfort, avoid the need to construct new power plants and preserve the natural environment.

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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

Control & Automation · Lighting · News · All Topics
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