“Reuse, adaptability, and resilience are essential to sustainable design, which seeks to maintain and enhance usability, functionality and value over time. ” AIA Framework for Design Excellence

All Electric Buildings: CAL Green 2019 Essentials + Zero Code + IEBC

Russell Fortmeyer, LEED AP BD+C | Associate Principal, Arup
Jessica Mack | Principal Partner, Program Development, Okapi Architecture, Inc.
Ying Wang, AIA, LEED Fellow, LEED AP, Well AP | President, Okapi Architecture, Inc.

CALGREEN is a regulatory requirement set by the California Green Building Standards Code: Part 11 of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.

CALGreen is the newest California Title 24 code addition and is not a stand-alone document for all new construction, major modernizations, and additions. The purpose is to improve public health, filling the gaps that the multiple codes, from the Energy Code, Plumbing Code, Electrical Code, Mechanical Code, and others not able to address sustainability. Its function is to stress the newer areas that California is planning or targeting, such as EV Charging Spaces, Construction Site Waste Collection for land fill avoidance, Low VOC Materials, Outdoor Recycled Water Supply Systems and Moisture Control. As a comprehensive approach, it requires the project team to follow through design stages, during construction, and continue after occupancy. Case in point is the “Waste Treatment”.  

The nickname is “Mini LEED” because of the similar principles; however, LEED Certification is voluntary and the achievement levels are identified as “Certified”, “Silver”, “Gold” and “Platinum”.  CALGreen is a requirement under the statewide California Code.  It identifies the requirements as “mandatory”, but also provides “Tier 1” and “Tier 2” for Projects or local Agencies to pursue higher performance.

The CALGreen Code started in 2008, and has been reissued in versions 2013, 2016 and 2019.  In 2020, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is open to a public review and comment period for the upcoming 2022 version. The newest Zero Code is in discussion to be included in the 2022 CALGreen Code.

Many features within the new version of CALGreen address the goal toward Zero Carbon Buildings, including new controls for plug loads and mandatory requirements for renewable energy infrastructure. Future changes to CALGreen are anticipated as the State moves to “de-carbonize” buildings toward all-electric buildings tied to the grid or on-site solar photovoltaic systems. Designs that plan for this now will ensure limited retrofits and renovations of buildings after the 2030 requirements for Net Zero Energy Buildings are adopted.

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