Supporters React to Adoption of 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Requiring Solar in New Homes

Moving to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50 percent, the California Energy Commission on May 9 adopted building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020. The building energy efficiency standards, which are the first in the nation to require solar, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.

More information can be found in the frequently asked questions document on the standards.

Here is what people are saying about the standards:

Pierre Delforge, director of high-tech sector energy efficiency, Natural Resources Defense Council
“This is groundbreaking. The new building energy codes will save energy, lower customer bills, keep homes comfortable in increasing heat waves, and reduce pollution from California’s homes and buildings — which account from a quarter of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting energy waste and putting solar panels on every new home built in California should be a shining example to the rest of the world on how to act against climate change.”

Dan Dunmoyer, president and CEO, California Building Industry Association
“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs. We thank the Commissioners and their staff for working with the building industry during the past 18 months and adopting a set of cost-effective standards that ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling.”

George H. Koertzen, construction superintendent, Habitat for Humanity San Joaquin County
“Low mortgage payments alone don’t make for affordable housing. It’s also important to make sure families can afford to pay the energy bills that keep the lights on, the temperature comfortable, and the hot water flowing. That’s why Title 24 is so important. Strong energy efficiency standards for housing help keep utility bills down, and help families stay in their homes.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
“This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the U.S. California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state. SEIA appreciates the Commission’s efforts to help California take steps toward meeting its zero-net-energy goals by integrating renewable energy with energy efficiency. The combination of rooftop solar and the option to add energy storage systems as an efficiency compliance credit provides builders with an attractive, cost-effective option to fully electrify homes.”

Tom White, sustainability and energy asset manager, Eden Housing
“Low-income families spend a much higher percentage of their income on energy costs than families with more resources do. For people living paycheck to paycheck, energy efficiency can make an enormous difference in keeping the family budget balanced. Similarly, low-income communities bear a disproportionate health burden because of air pollution. Expanding the amount of energy generated from clean sources like wind and solar will mean cleaner air and a healthier California.”

Kelly Knutsen, director of technology advancement, California Solar & Storage Association
"Today, California made history, yet again. We are building a better future for consumers and the environment by embracing innovation and smart technologies. Adding solar on all new homes, and giving consumers a solar plus storage option, will make our homes super energy efficient while generating their own clean energy. The monthly energy bills savings will be twice as much as the increase in home mortgage. This is a win-win for consumers and the environment."

Brandon De Young, executive vice president, De Young Properties
“I know from experience that energy-efficient homes sell faster and bring a better price, and data from the (U.S.) Department of Energy back me up on that. People don’t want to throw money away on wasted energy when they can move into a more efficient, comfortable, and healthy house instead.”

Bart Croes, research division chief, California Air Resources Board
“We fully support the California Energy Commission’s efforts to maintain and improve both indoor and outdoor air quality while pursuing increased energy efficiency in California buildings. We especially support your staff’s proposals to require higher efficiency air filters for all new buildings and for new HVAC systems installed in existing buildings, and requirements for ensuring installed kitchen range hoods provide sufficient protection from toxic chemicals and particles emitted from cooking and gas stoves. These and other measures are needed to protect public health. Particle pollution, especially near pollution sources like freeways and busy thoroughfares, accounts for the greatest percentage of health impacts attributable to air pollution.”

Ron O. Nichols, president, Southern California Edison (SCE) – submitted comment
“SCE supports the CEC’s overall approach to the proposed building standards and we are committed to GHG reduction through providing customers more technology choices and grid harmonization. In its ‘Clean Power and Electrification Pathway,’ SCE has developed an integrated blueprint for California to reduce GHG that includes a combination of measures to produce the most cost-effective and feasible path forward. We appreciate the alignment between the 2019 Title 24 standards, the state’s, and SCE’s GHG reduction vision.”

Nehemiah Stone, principal, Stone Energy Associates
“California’s new energy standards will make homes more affordable as it makes them more efficient. Utility costs can be one of the highest costs of maintaining a household and the standards go directly at this cost. Further, research has shown that the standards’ efficiency measures add little or nothing to the price of a new home.”

Francesca Wahl, senior policy associate of business development and policy, Tesla – submitted comment
“The 2019 code will be able to capture the full value that solar PV paired with storage can provide to meet grid harmonization needs. Tesla looks forward to working with Energy Commission staff and other stakeholders on the Residential Compliance Manual process and the opportunity to utilize a grid harmonization credit for battery storage for both the efficiency and demand flexibility components of the Energy Design Rating (EDR).”

Sean Armstrong, principal and project manager, Redwood Energy
"California law requires Title 24 code updates ensure Californians can have comfortable homes for the least cost. Over the last eight years, solar electric panels has dropped in cost by 80 percent worldwide, and now solar power is the least costly way to power a home. California's next code update will save our citizens hundreds of dollars a year in utility bills, while requiring developers cost-effectively invest in the quality and comfort of our homes."

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