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The New Title 24: Nine Things to Know

The New Title 24: Nine Things to Know

By Jodan Klotzle & Bobby Almeida

In January 2023, the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, otherwise known as Title 24-2022, went into effect for newly constructed buildings, additions, and alterations. According to the California Energy Commission’s website, the 2022 Energy Code “will produce benefits to support the state’s public health, climate, and clean energy goals.”

The new code, which was formally adopted August 11, 2021, comes in at a whopping 533 pages, with an additional 559 pages of appendices. For those who don’t have the time to skim over a thousand pages, the experts at Verdical Group have pulled out some of the highlights and code updates to be aware of for your new building projects. Read on to find out what’s new with Title 24-2022.

#1 – Updates have been made to requirements for PV & batteries across multiple sections.

Installation of solar is a major new addition to Title 24 requirements. For prescriptive standards, solar requirements are based on solar access roof area (SARA) or conditioned floor area. A building’s SARA includes roof structurally capable of supporting PV, and roof space on covered parking areas and other new structures on the site. Some exceptions apply, which are listed in detail in the code. Formulas have been provided for calculating the requirements for various building categories. For prescriptive standards, nonresidential and high-rise multifamily buildings that are required to have PV must have batteries (with some exceptions). Batteries can be traded off in a performance model with additional PV or other efficiency measures. The energy modeling experts at Verdical Group can help you analyze the PV and battery options for your project.

#2 – High-rise and low-rise multifamily structures are now under the same code section.

In previous code cycles, high-rise multifamily structures (four stories or more) were categorized as nonresidential, while low-rise multifamily (three stories or fewer) was included with single-family residences. Both high-rise and low-rise multifamily projects are now categorized together under their own section of the code, which leads to our next change to know.

#3 – There are now three parts of the code.

Buildings may now be categorized under one of the following three groups: single family, multifamily, or nonresidential and hotel/motel.

#4 – New mandatory electrical requirements are forcing the financial case for electric appliances, rather than gas.

Title 24-2022 requires that dedicated 240V branch circuit wiring shall be properly labeled and must be installed within 3 feet of: a furnace serving an individual dwelling unit (30 amps), a gas cooktop (50 amps), and a gas clothes dryer serving an individual dwelling unit (30 amps), with electric ready requirements for gas dryers in common areas as well. This requires the installation of extensive electric infrastructure, making the installation of gas infrastructure duplicative and costly.

#5 – New mandatory mechanical requirements are also highly encouraging electric ranges, rather than traditional gas ranges.

Kitchen Range Hoods Airflow requirements have been updated to allow much lower requirements for hoods over electric ranges. Airflow requirements for hoods over gas ranges require a much higher Capture Efficiency relative to dwelling unit size. Gas ranges are being linked directly to indoor air quality requirements, with code updates strongly encouraging the installation of electric ranges.

#6 – New prescriptive multifamily and hotel/motel requirements for Domestic Hot Water are promoting the installation of heat pump water heaters.

For central water heaters, the prescriptive standard is a heat pump or  gas with solar thermal. For individual units, heat pumps or a tankless gas heater are now the prescriptive standard. Additional requirements apply, such as requiring a recirculation system and temperature requirements for the heat pump. An exception can be made if your project can prove with a model that energy compliance will be met with only a gas heater, but gas units must operate at a minimum of 90% efficiency if total capacity is 1 MMBTu/h or greater.

#7 – New multifamily lighting requirements are cracking down on light pollution and energy efficiency.

Outdoor lighting controlled from within a dwelling unit must meet all dwelling unit requirements. Additionally, it must be controlled by an astronomical timeclock, or by photocell plus a motion sensor or automatic time switch control. Lighting in habitable spaces must have dimmers. Exterior lighting must now comply with the CALGreen nonresidential Backlight, Uplight, Glare (BUG) requirements. The prescriptive standard has reduced exterior lighting allowances, though they are higher for multifamily than for nonresidential, and concrete and asphalt are no longer differentiated. Additionally, if a project requires demand responsive controls for indoor lighting, then controlled receptacles must be demand responsive as well.

#8 – There are new heat pump requirements for nonresidential and hotel/motel buildings.

Heat pumps are prescriptively required for single zone DX systems 20 tons and less in:

  • Retail and grocery building spaces in climate zones 2 through 15
    • In climate zones 1 and 16 <65kBTU is furnace, >65kBTU is dual-fuel heat pump
  • Schools in climate zones 2 through 15. Climate zones 1 and 16 require dual-fuel heat pump.
  • Office, financial institution, library in climate zones 1 through 15
    • In climate zone 16 <65kBTU is furnace, >65kBTU is dual-fuel heat pump
  • Office spaces in a warehouse in all climate zones

#9 – There have been efficiency increases to some mechanical equipment under the nonresidential and hotel/motel code.

There have been small but mandatory efficiency increases to some mechanical equipment:

  • Boilers over 300kBTU/h are now required to be 84-85% efficient, up from the previous 80-82% requirement. This will be difficult to achieve without the use of condensing boilers.
  • New efficiency tables have been added for DOAS, computer room units, and heat pump and heat recovery chillers.
  • Single zone constant volume systems serving less than 5,000 square feet (excluding healthcare), with more than 25% of ducts in unconditioned space or outdoors must undergo HERS duct leakage testing.

The new code cycle contains many more fine details beyond the big-picture updates covered here, so it’s a good idea to reference the code directly for any questions or concerns you may have for your next project.

In need of Title 24 Energy Modeling, CALGreen Code Commissioning, or other services to support your next building project? Reach out to us via our contact form, and a member of our team will reach out to you as soon as possible!