For the past decade, regulators and solar advocates in California have been working on changing the building requirements that the California Building Standards Commission enforces to be more environmentally progressive.
On December 8th, 2018, the California Building Standards Commission and the California Energy Commission signed off on 2019 Title 24, Part 6, Building Energy Efficiency Standards which will require all new homes built after 2020 to incorporate solar.
Let’s take a look at what the new standards will mean for homeowners and builders and see if this type of energy code could be beneficial for Park City.
What Are The New Building Standards
Under the new building codes that will take effect on January 1st, 2020 all new homes will be required to incorporate solar power.
The solar array on a home under the new building codes will need to be sized to net out annual Kilowatt-hour usage of a house.
That means that all new home will need to be capable of producing 100% of the energy required. Under the new codes, there have also been revisions made to energy efficiency measures that are estimated to reduce the power consumption of a home by 50%.
The new building standards mark a first in the United States and are the most ambitious efforts to date.
What Do The New Codes Mean For Homeowners?
One of the aims with changing the building codes was to eliminate friction for homeowners. Rather than having homeowners deal with getting solar installed, the people behind the changes thought it would be more effective to have solar be more B2B between contractors, suppliers, and home builders.
For anyone buying a home in California after 2020, the only thing that will change will be the price of your mortgage. The solar array will come included in your total home price and will be part of your mortgage.
After studying the energy consumption in California for three years, the California Energy Commission determined that solar would be cost-effective in all climate in California.
The analysis found that requiring solar would be cost-effective in all climate zones of the state and that homeowners would save $40 each month, or roughly $500 per year, due to the new rules. The codes are expected to add around $40 per month to a typical mortgage payment, but the costs are outweighed by a projected $80 per month in energy savings.
The new codes will mean energy savings for homeowners and a reduction of carbon emissions.
Could Park City Do This?
We believe that Park City could be a leader in Utah by adopting similar energy codes for new homes.
Most areas in Park City are great for solar, and in areas where it might not be as ideal like Summit Park, requirements could be lowered.
Enforcing stricter building codes seems like a great approach to adopting more solar power, and in a city that is committed to being carbon neutral, this could be a great approach that accelerates the adoption of solar.
California’s new building codes are the most ambitious solar initiatives in the United States and mark a very important first in the United States.
By requiring solar on new homes, the homeowner doesn’t have to worry about the solar process and can instead buy a house and move in like normal.
The new codes will also lead to energy savings for new homeowners in California.
We believe that similar building codes work in Park City and could help shift the city shift to carbon-free energy.