The first statewide energy requirements were established in 1975 by the Department of Housing and Community Development for all low-rise residential buildings. In 1974 the California legislature passed the Warren-Alquist Act establishing the California Energy Commission and authorizing the Commission to establish energy requirements for both residential and commercial buildings.
Information on the Standards adopted between 1978 and 2001 is available here.
Information on the 2005 Standards (adopted July 21, 2004) is available here.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) completed the rulemaking process for the 2008 Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings. The CEC adopted the 2008 Standards on April 23, 2008, and the Building Standards Commission approved them for publication on September 11, 2008. Though initially slated for implementation on August 1, 2009, the 2008 Standards became effective on January 1, 2010. The CEC has also posted the final versions of the 2008 Residential Compliance Manual and the 2008 Nonresidential Compliance Manual. A first analysis of the 2008 Standards revealed an average energy performance at least 21% more efficient than ASHRAE 90.1-2004. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-20-04 on December 14, 2004, known as the Green Building Initiative. It laid out a comprehensive set of actions for California to take in order to improve energy efficiency in nonresidential buildings. The California Energy Commission was directed to undertake all actions within its authority to increase the efficiency requirements in the Building Energy Efficiency Standards for nonresidential buildings by 20% by 2015. On February 2, 2009, a bill was introduced in the state assembly that would mandate "zero net energy" standards for residential buildings starting in 2020.
On January 12, 2010, the state of California adopted the nation's first mandatory green building standards. Effective January 1, 2011, all new buildings must comply with the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN). The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 3 million metric tons in 2020, helping the state reach its goal of 33 percent GHG reduction this decade.
Among other provisions, CALGREEN will require 20 percent mandatory reduction in indoor water use, separate water meters for nonresidential buildings' indoor and outdoor water use, diversion of 50 percent of construction waste from landfills, mandatory inspections of energy systems for nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet, and the use of low-pollutant emitting interior finish materials such as paints, carpet, vinyl flooring and particle board.
Local Ordinances Exceeding the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
Public Resources Code Section 25402.1(h)2 and Section 10-106 of the Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards) establish a process which allows local adoption of energy standards that are more stringent than the statewide Standards. This process allows local governments to adopt and enforce energy standards before the statewide Standards effective date, require additional energy conservation measures, and/or set more stringent energy budgets. Local governments are required to apply to the Energy Commission for approval, documenting the supporting analysis for how the local government has determined that their proposed Standards will save more energy than the current statewide Standards and the basis of the local government's determination that the local standards are cost-effective. Once the Energy Commission staff has verified that the local standards will require buildings to use no more energy than the current statewide Standards and that the documentation requirements in Section 10-106 are met, the application is brought before the full Energy Commission for approval.
As of May 5, 2010, the following local jurisdictions have adopted ordinances (approved by the CEC) more stringent energy requirements than those set by California's 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Title 24, Part 6:
- Cities (11): Redwood, Los Altos, San Rafael, Union City, Morgan Hill, Richmond, Palo Alto, Chula Vista, San Jose, Hayward, San Francisco
- Counties (5): Marin, Santa Clara, Sonoma, San Francisco