FROM THE CREW: Leading the Way

Beginning in 2020, all new residential construction in California must include photovoltaic systems.

California has once again lived up to its reputation of leading renewable energy into the mainstream and fighting climate change. The California Energy Commission (CEC) decided in May 2018 that all new residential construction will have to include PV systems beginning in 2020. This is the first such state mandate in the United States.

These new additions to California’s robust Title 24 standards will affect most of the estimated 117,000 single-family homes and 48,000 multifamily buildings to be built in 2020. This is an amazing step forward for renewable energy, and is a key part of California’s efforts to slow human-caused climate change.

Some buildings will be excluded from the mandate, such as those shaded by other buildings or without enough roof space to accommodate solar modules. Excluded buildings will be required to participate in community solar projects or employ additional efficiency methods.

The Commission is also requiring improved building envelope efficiency standards, lighting efficiency standards, and indoor air quality standards, which are necessary as building envelopes get tighter. As Home Power readers know, saving energy is every bit as important as how your energy is made. Production methods become irrelevant when kilowatt-hours are not needed in the first place.

These 2020 standards also encourage battery storage systems and other technologies designed to make solar homes more responsive to the grid’s needs. Overall, the new standards are expected to result in 30% less energy consumption for the new residences. They will add an estimated average of $40 a month to a 30-year mortgage, but they are expected to produce $80 a month in energy savings.

If you’re in a state other than California, hopefully your energy officials and legislators will be following California’s leadership in RE and efficiency. It’s up to your citizenry to demand these sorts of standards. What can you do to help make them a reality where you live, too?

Think About It...

“I’m not an environmentalist. I’m a cultural repairman. It’s all about efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, prosperous, and life-sustaining.”

—Amory Lovins, efficiency expert

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