The new 2019 code coming into effect on January 1 is a lot tougher than the current code. For non-residential the California Energy Commission (CEC) is estimating that the requirements are 30% more stringent. TETER’s Engineers have summarized major changes for your awareness.

The 2019 code includes enhanced controls and control devices for mechanical and electrical systems. This new requirement is the CEC’s further development into making all buildings “smart.” The new sections include requirements for more control devices, monitoring, and live diagnostics. These requirements have effects on all disciplines: mechanical, electrical, and architectural shading devices. Control systems have historically been an expensive investment for owners, but the “investment” has mostly been an option. The new requirements are removing the optional aspect, and making enhanced controls the new normal.

The new code includes more stringent performance restrictions on lighting. The performance standard was nearly cut in half for most building types, sometimes even more. Electrical performance metrics have historically been able to carry the energy compliance load. This will no longer be the case. This change is going to require a more concentrated effort from all designers being more efficient with envelope design and system selections. This is also going to require more up front modeling, calculations, and analysis, especially when comparing architectural and lighting. These types of enhancements have traditionally been an option for owners who may desire a high performing building, but they will become more of the norm as we approach the states deadline of having zero-net energy (ZNE) buildings by 2030.

The energy code has traditionally excluded OSHPD 1 facilities, however, the new Energy Code requirements now apply to new OSHPD 1 hospitals. OSHPD remodels are still excluded from the energy code. The focus of including the OSHPD 1 facilities revolves in conserving energy that is non-essential to health and safety of the facility (natural lighting, lighting controls, and
demand response).