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Understanding the Title 24 ordinance in California - For ADUs

Updated: Apr 9

Understanding the Title 24 ordinance in California - For ADUs

Title 24 is the section of California’s energy code, which focuses on building’s energy standards. California’s energy code is designed to reduce wasteful and unnecessary energy consumption in newly constructed buildings. Since 1978, California’s residents have been required to meet the energy efficiency standards contained in Title 24 Part 6. The state of California’s energy commission updates the building standards every three years by working with public stakeholders. T-24 as it is commonly referred to in the industry by contractors, architects and inspectors alike relates to commonly installed items during residential construction such as lighting, water heating, insulation, windows, HVAC, and roofing.

The aforementioned compliance standards have the potential to greatly decrease energy consumption, For example, when installing insulation with the proper R value you can expect to drastically lower your HVAC usages. Also, a second example would be the decreased energy consumption associated with T-24 required installation of a California cool roof on top of every newly built ADU. This saved energy is due to the cool roofs’ high solar reflective index (SRI) and can result in 20% less energy use.

The last update to Title 24 took effect on January 1st 2020, All ADUs that are permitted after this date must comply with 2019 Title-24 standard.

New building energy standards will help reduce wasteful and inefficient consumption of energy. The new ordinate is specific about water heaters, high performance attics, walls and windows. Every set of plans will contain a window schedule, this should be discussed in your meeting with our architect.

One of the biggest changes to the new 2020 requirements is that’s all lights are required to be LED t-24 compliant, no screw based light bulbs in any new residential construction is allowed.

The following chapters are the most important for home owners building an accessory dwelling unit.

Chapter 4 discusses Building HVAC Requirements, the main topics discussed are, Heating and Cooling Equipment. You will see the mandatory measures for ADU equipment, requirements and performance.

· This topic will discuss

· Radiant floors

· Gas appliances

· Ventilation cooling

· Refrigeration

· Hydronic Heating systems

Chapter 5 Discusses Water heating requirements for ADUs and all residential new construction. Performance of the equipment is very important, most tankless water heaters on the market will satisfy Title 24 but homeowners must consult with architects and General contractors.

· This topic will discuss

· Storage water heaters and maintenance

· Distribution systems

· Pool heaters and filters

· Shower heads.

Chapter 6 Discusses residential Lighting requirements for New ADUs. These ordinances will take focus on New construction made after January 2020.

· This Topic will discuss

· Indoor and outdoor lighting

· Lighting controls

· Bathroom occupancy lights

· LED requirements

Chapter 7 Discusses Residential Solar reports, for now that state does not mandate ADUs or new homes to have solar panels but they want homes to be “solar ready”. This means homes require the design to leave space for future roof top solar panels. The intent is to reserve penetration-free and shade-free portions for future installation. Currently there are no requirements to install panels, conduit, piping or hardware but we think 2022 will be different.

· This Topic will discuss

· Shared solar generators

· Storage systems

· Solar panel Durability

· Performance requirements

· Solar zones

The state of California is working on a new standard that will take effect in January 2022, the main changes will be the addition of solar panels on roofs, the state is pushing all new buildings to be self-sustainable with zero waste.

It might seem arbitrary to focus on title 24 but it is important to plan ahead before submitting plans to the city.

As the leader in ADU Builders, Neo Builders will discuss all options with Homeowners before plans are approved, we suggest using a third party to work with the architects and the general contractors before submitting title 24 reports.


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