3.3       Compliance Options    

Public Resources Code, Section 25402.1 (b) requires the California Energy Commission to establish a formal process for certifying compliance options of new products, materials, designs or procedures that can improve building efficiency levels established by the Building Energy Efficiency Standards.  §10-109 of the Energy Standards allows for the introduction of new calculation methods and measures that which cannot be properly accounted for in the current approved compliance approaches. This process for approval of new products, materials, procedures, and calculation methods is called compliance options and helps improve building efficiency levels set by the Energy Standards.

The Energy Commission encourages the use of energy-saving techniques and designs for complying with the Energy Standards. The compliance options process allows the Energy Commission to review and gather public input regarding the merits of new compliance techniques, products, materials, designs, or procedures to demonstrate compliance for newly constructed buildings, additions, and alterations to existing buildings. Approved compliance options are generally carried for use with the newer energy code when revisions are made to the Energy Standards and information regarding the use and eligibility and/or installation criteria are incorporated in compliance and reference manuals.

When the Energy Commission approves a new compliance option it is 'listed in the Special Cases section of the Energy Commission’s website based on the adoption year of the Energy Standards: www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2008standards/special_case_appliance/.

3.3.1    Mandatory Features and Devices      

Mandatory requirements are necessary to support the long-term goal of zero-net-energy buildings. When compliance is being demonstrated with either the prescriptive or performance compliance paths, there are mandatory measures that must be installed. Minimum mandatory measures must be met regardless of the method of compliance being used. For example, when using the performance modeling software, it may assume that an assembly meets compliance with a U-factor of U-0.065 in a wood-framed attic roof. However, it does not comply because the mandatory requirement of U-0.043 has not been met per §150.0.

3.3.2    Prescriptive Compliance Approach    

A.   The prescriptive approach is the simplest way to comply with the building envelope requirements but generally offers limited flexibility; however, the 2016 revisions have added increased flexibility for prescriptive compliance. If every prescriptive requirement is met, the building envelope complies with the Energy Standards. The prescriptive envelope requirements are prescribed in §150.1, which includes Table 150.1-A.

B.   The prescriptive compliance approach consists of meeting specific requirements for each envelope component, plus meeting all minimum mandatory requirements, such as mandatory levels of insulation. Prescriptive requirements apply to:

1.          Fenestration.

2.          Roofs and ceilings, including exterior roofing products.

3.          Exterior walls.

4.          Floors.

3.3.3    Performance Compliance Approach    

A.   The prescribed mandatory measures and prescriptive requirements affect the design and operation of the building. Mandatory measures, prescriptive requirements and operational schedules establish a minimum performance level that can be exceeded by other design measures and construction practices, resulting in greater energy savings.

B.   The performance approach is a more sophisticated compliance method and it offers greater design flexibility than the prescriptive approach. The performance approach may be used for any unique design element(s) that the user of a compliance modeling software believes could contribute to the overall energy use of the building.

C.   The performance approach allows for more energy tradeoffs between building features, such as increasing HVAC equipment efficiency to allow more fenestration area.  See Section 3.8 and Chapter 8 for a more complete discussion of the performance approach.