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2008 California Energy Standards for
Residential and Non-Residential Buildings


Residential buildings

The following changes usually do not require your attention as many of them are covered when we provide  Title 24 energy reports for our clients:

Add new Cool Roof  requirements for low-sloped and steep sloped roofs.

Upgraded fenestration requirements (solar heat gain coefficint and U-factor).

New mechanical ventilation requirements to maintain indoor air quality in line with ASHRAE Standards 62.2 requirements.

Updated swimming pool and spa requirements to include two-speed pumps and time clocks.

New prescriptive efficiency requirements introduced for forced air system fan energy use and minimum air flow rate.

Updated requirements for air conditioner and heat pump  refrigerant charge verification procedures, forced air system air flow measurement procedures, and thermal expansion valve (TXV) verification procedures(now test for proper TXV function).  Also added optional simplified HERS verification procedures for refrigerant charge, and forced air system airflow measurements, and priovides new alternative methods for compliance with the prescriptive refrigerant charge verification requirements.                                                                                                                          

Improve cross-flow prevention and pump protection for central hot water distribution sytems in multi-family buildings with demand-control circulation loops.

Requirements for under-slab hot water pipe insulation to mitigate heat loss.

Compliance Software Manual calculations were revised for slab heat flow, furnace fan modeling, HVAC sizing credit, duct leakage, low leakage air handlers and water heating.

Improved roof and attic modeling to better model thermal interactions in attic such as radiant barriers, cool roofs, and ducts.

Compliance option credit for Distributed Energy Storage, Evaporatively  Cooled Condensers, and Evaporative Coolers.

Clarifications for additions and alterations proposed design and standards budgets calculations.

Site-built, field fabricated, or non NFRC windows can only use default U and SHGC values in compliance computations.  These default values are usually relatively high in comparison with NFRC rated windows so it makes compliance more difficult.  Whenever possible, use windows with an NFRC rating.

Residential lighting is prescriptive and it is explained thoroughly in the Residential Design Manual. However , there will be a handy pdf manual clarifying all of this in excruciating but clear detail.  Keep checking the following links as it will be posted sometime before January 1, 2009.  There most probably will be a link to this file on the CABEC (California Association of Building Energy Consultants) web site In the panel on the right hand side, you will see “Now Available New Residential Lighting Design Guide”. The lighting manual was developed by the California Lighting Technology Center and will be found there as well.

 The Residential Design Manual for downloading can be found at at the bottom of the page.  At this location one can also find the Non-Residential Design Manual and the “Standards”.  By the way, it is cheaper to download the PDF’s and either print them yourself or send them to Kinko’s for printing than it is to order a hard copy from the Energy Commission.






Non-Residential buildings


New prescriptive cool roof requirements for steep-sloped applications, which consist of high reflectance and high emmitance for the roofing products.

The alteration requirements for roofing products have been changed to clarify that all replacements, recovering or recoating of the exterior surface of existing roofsshall meet the requirements of 118(i).

The prescriptive overall building envelope method has been revised to combine heating and cooling and to provide simplified trade-offs for roofing alterations.

Site-built fenetration now include a new NFRC Component Modeling Approach (CMA) certification, new fenestration acceptance requirements and changes to CEC default values.

Revised presciptive requirements for roof, wall and floor insulation levels in certain climate zones.


The lighting power limits for some indoor lighting  in the Area Category and Complete Building type of units are reduced in response to advances in lighing technology.  New function areas and type of uses have been created.  There are updates for for indoor lighting requirements for Tailored Method, including wall and floor display lighting.

Added new requiremnets for occupant sensors in indoor areas, including offices less than 250 square feet, multipurpose rooms of less than 1000 square feet, and classrooms and and conference rooms of any size.

New demand response controls for to reduce indoor lighting when signaled including load shedding ballasts.

For prescriptive skylight compliance in low-rise conditioned or unconditioned enclosed spaces that are greater than 8,000 square feet directly under a roof with ceiling heights greater than 15 feet and have a lighting power density equal to or greater than 0.5 W/sq ft shall meet 143(c)1-4

Updates to require automatic daylighting controls within daylit areas near windows for some types of buildings.  The definition of daylit area has been updated.

For outdoor lighting, LPDs have been revised to reflect new twechnologies and IESNA recommendations.  Outdoor lighting compliance has been revised to introduce the "layered approach" to simplify compliance.  Sign lighting  power limits (or alternative equipment efficiency requirements) apply to externally and internally illuminated signs used either indoors or outdoors.  The list of alternative light sources has been expanded and reorganized to better reflect the state of technology.


Basic "building commissioning", at least on a component basis, is required for mechanical equipment that is prone to improper installation.

Controls that measure CO2 concentrations and vary outside ventilation rates are required  for spaces such as conference rooms, dining rooms, lounges and gyms.  The 2008 Standards expand the DCV requirements to multizone systems but exempt high occupant density spaces from this requirement, and add new requirements to ensure that adequate ventilation is provided to the spaces.

New requirements for refrigerated warehouses.

New mandatory  and prescriptive requirement for Hotel/Motel occupancies to use residential water heating models, and new prescriptive requirements for gas water heating in non-residential buildings.

New control requirements for for single-zone variable (adjustable) air volume eqipment.

Expand direct digital control systems to zone level for HVAC , including demand shedding controls, hydronic pressure reset, VAV zone minimums, and supply air temperature reset.