The Energy Code Ace Web site is developed and provided by the California Statewide Codes & Standards Program, which offers free energy code training, tools and resources for those who need to understand and meet the requirements of Title 24, Part 6 and Title 20. Designed to improve compliance with the state’s building and appliance energy codes and standards, the program aims to advance the adoption and effective implementation of energy efficiency measures and building practices to lock in long-term energy savings. The program recognizes that codes and standards are one of the most effective pathways to ensuring sustained market transformation – and that key to making them work well are well-informed industry professionals and consumers. With that in mind, a number of offerings have been developed to help both those who enforce the code, as well as those who must follow it.
The California Statewide Codes & Standards Program is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission and implemented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas, in support of the California Energy Commission.
Background: Codes and Standards
California has been at the forefront of many building code and appliance standards advancements across the nation, forging a path for federally adopted codes (ASHRAE and IECC) to follow. By working through many code advancements in California first, it becomes easier for other code-making bodies to adopt similar features. In recent cycles, the ASHRAE and IECC codes have increased in stringency, with the latest iteration being very similar to California codes. Because of the advancements in California, the federal government and many states now recognize that codes and standards are a very cost-effective way to transform a market, and they provide an end-point for measures that have been publicly supported through utility or other programs.However, adoption into codes signals only the end of a chapter in the product cycle for an energy efficiency measure, as the codes only have an impact if people comply with them.
The Codes and Standards (C&S) program saves energy on behalf of ratepayers by influencing continuous improvements in energy efficiency regulations, improving compliance with existing codes and standards, working with local governments to develop ordinances that exceed statewide minimum requirements, and with other programs in the portfolio to coordinate activities. Both the C&S program advocacy and compliance improvement activities extend to virtually all buildings and potentially any appliance in California (and beyond).
The C&S program conducts advocacy activities to improve building and appliance efficiency regulations. The principal audience is the California Energy Commission (CEC) which conducts periodic rulemakings, usually on a three-year cycle (for building regulations), to update building and appliance energy efficiency regulations. C&S also seeks to influence the United States Department of Energy (DOE) in setting national energy policy that impacts California.
Following adoption, C&S supports compliance improvement with both Title 24 building codes and Title 20 appliance standards. Compliance improvement activities complement and enhance advocacy work by maximizing verified savings from codes and standards that are realized and persist over time. Although the advocacy work focuses on specific measures and incremental changes to the code, for building standards, the Compliance Improvement (CI) Subprogram takes a more holistic approach, consistent with the typical way code compliance is documented. The CI Subprogram targets market actors throughout the entire compliance supply chain, providing education, outreach, technical support, tools and resources to increase compliance with both the building and appliance energy standards. Compliance Improvement responds directly to the CPUC’s interest in the robust implementation of existing standards and support for the Big Bold Energy Efficiency Strategies (BBEES) in the Strategic Plan. The CI Subprogram is guided by the Compliance Improvement Advisory Group (CIAG).
The new Planning and Coordination Subprogram expands the coordination role of the C&S program in the market adoption cycle for energy efficiency technologies and practices. As many of the measures offered through voluntary programs are adopted into the standards, C&S will coordinate both internally and externally to support a coordinated approach to portfolio planning with the objective of accelerating market acceptance and ultimately the adoption of successful, cost-effective technologies or practices into code. C&S activities directly support the goals and objectives of both the Strategic Plan and the C&S Action Plan.
Compliance Improvement Subprogram
While advocacy has been the main program focus in the past, given the magnitude and breadth of the changes in the 2008 standards, the C&S team realized that compliance is becoming a much bigger issue.The team saw that the savings from improving compliance could easily out pace the potential savings from local advanced ordinances.In response, the team significantly expanded its compliance improvement activities. Beginning in 2013, the program expanded its offerings to include a wider variety of training, resources and services to several different market actors in the compliance supply chain.The Energy Code Ace Web site is part of these efforts.