Title 24 Compliance

The burgeoning national interest in sustainability, green building, and alternative energies has led to a proliferation of regulatory requirements, local building ordinances, energy modeling approaches, “green” certifications, and tax incentives. Title 24 compliance is only one part of this picture, but as a California standard it’s often referenced by other programs such as GreenPoints – a green building rating standard that’s currently being adopted by local jurisdictions all over California.

Every architect in California is familiar with the necessity of meeting California’s Title 24 energy code, which mandates strict energy-efficiency standards for all new and remodel construction. For custom-designed private residences and condominiums, this can present some tough choices to bring the desired designs into compliance.

Typically, Title 24 compliance emphasizes engineering over design with little concern for aesthetic impact. However there are often many less obvious measures that, taken together, can bring even the most marginal projects into compliance. Many of these projects need to exceed Title 24 in order to qualify for additional certifications or rebates: GreenPoints, LEED for Homes, and California’s New Solar Homes Partnership all require that a project must exceed Title 24 by at least 15%, sometimes as much as 35%.

The new Title 24 standards that went into effect on January 1, 2010 are already 15% stricter than they were before. One result of this is an increasing reliance on the compliance credits earned through third-party field verifications. Design-oriented architects need to carefully weigh the aesthetic implications of energy compliance measures as well as assessing their feasibility within the project.

In our particular design market, namely custom residential design, cookie-cutter prescriptive compliance approaches don’t work as well. We offer a more tailored approach using iterative modeling to test every measure’s potential impact on the project. We then advise and discuss with our clients to identify the most reasonable solution based on actual project conditions. What you get from us includes knowledge of regulatory requirements, our experience as architects in working with various local building jurisdictions, a personalized level of attention to both design and engineering issues, and a better optimized solution.

Rather than charge by the number of pages plotted, we only charge for the final signed and delivered report, and we don’t charge for questions. We want our clients to be as well-educated as possible, so that they’ll be able to design for compliance from the very beginning.