On Wednesday March 9, 2018, California became the first state to require solar panels on all new home constructions. The California Energy Commission voted unanimously to add more energy efficient building regulations – in line with the state’s mission to lower their energy consumption and reduce pollution through renewable energy sources.
The new mandate still requires the approval from the California Building Standards Commission, but it is projected to go before the panel in October or November. These building regulations will apply to all homes and low-rise apartment buildings which is scheduled to take effect by January 2020.
While beneficial to California’s sustainability initiative by lowering energy costs and reducing carbon emissions, the California Energy Commission is anticipating project costs to increase by $10,000 or twice as much.
Although the overall cost over energy savings seem to balance at the end, many builders will have to increase project budgets to accommodate these changes. With the new regulation, builders will have the option to add solar panels to single households or shared powered systems for a group of homes.
Does this mean that housing prices will go up?
Many are skeptical that these changes will increase the prices of an already HIGH housing market. One of the major concerns is that this building regulation will make it more difficult for people to afford to live there. While California is currently making strides to regulate the building industry, the state has always been number one when it comes to maintaining
sustainable practices and lowering energy consumption. The SEIA, Solar Energy Industries Association, already ranks the state at the top when it comes to solar energy.
They have already invested over $42 million in solar energy to date.
California law now requires that 50% of all electricity comes from non-carbon emitting sources. According to USA Today, less than 20% of the homes built in the state currently have solar panels installed. Luckily for contractors, the government is offering tax incentives and rebates for all qualifying solar panel installations made.
California's joint appendix 8 revision, or JA8, gives the consumer a broader range of energy efficient product choices and becomes effective in January of 2017. This revision defines light fixtures by their level of luminous efficacy, defines the types of light fixtures, sets standard requirements for dimmers and vacancy sensors, and sets home buyer guidelines.
In order to encourage buildings to change their energy practices, the Energy Policy Act 179D tax deduction states that qualifying building owners and businesses may receive up to $1.80 per square foot in tax deductions.
The Living Building certificate promotes sustainable buildings through greener construction practices. See what it takes to earn the Living Building certificate!
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