If you’ve been exploring building your dream home in California, then you likely know that recent updates in codes will have an impact on your designs. The 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Also known as the 2022 Energy Code), which was approved last year, may require a more careful selection of materials and appliances, however, it will encourage home builders to take steps towards greener construction. 

The 2022 Energy Code will go into full effect by January 1, 2023, giving home builders and future owners time to prepare and make adjustments to their designs over the next several months. The code specifically promotes reduced fossil fuel usage (and ideally elimination), which includes natural gas, encouraging instead the use of electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar panels, hydroelectric facilities, and wind turbines. The code covers everything from electric-ready requirements for new construction, more efficient electric heat pumps, solar panel and battery installations, as well as ventilation and other standards. 

Energy Impact of Updated Code

California residents have increasingly suffered extreme weather and wildfire conditions due to climate change in the last several years. Many homeowners in Northern California face the constant threat of wildfires and blackouts, spikes in electricity bills, as well as water conservation concerns. This pressure has made it all the more important for new construction to comply with greener building standards. 

According to the Building Energy Efficiency Standards Summary, homes and businesses throughout the state make up about 70% of the electricity demands in California and result in around 25% of the GHG emissions. While existing homes won’t fall under the jurisdiction of the new code, any new homes will have to comply, hopefully making an impact and helping reduce those percentages. 

“The urgency of climate change has gone up…We know we’ve got to get on the stick and do something,” said Andrew McAllister, of the California Energy Commission. The Commission is the group responsible for creating and approving the new building code changes that resulted in the 2022 Energy Code. This is typically done every three years, with this year’s focusing greatly on minimizing energy consumption in households while also increasing overall energy efficiency through smart appliances and better construction materials and methods. Additionally, the new code was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints of new and some renovated homes throughout California. 

Estimated Benefits from California Energy Commission 

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recognizes that something must be done to reduce the energy consumption and emissions coming from homes in California. While enhancing new construction efficiency isn’t the complete solution, it is a large part of the puzzle. 

What are some of the benefits the 2022 Energy Code will provide according to the CEC?

  • More renewable energy in California thanks to solar panel installations
  • Improved grid reliability by increasing electric load flexibility 
  • Decreased GHG emissions from new homes 
  • Enhanced air quality through reduced air pollution and improved in-home ventilation
  • Promotes increased adoption of energy-efficient technologies within the home 

Further, the CEC estimates that the 2022 Energy Code will result in not just $1.5 billion in consumer benefits, but also result in a reduction of around 10 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the course of three decades. For better reference, according to the report, that would be like removing 2.2 million cars from the road for a whole year. 

Leaders in Green Home Building in Sonoma County

At Annadel Builders Inc., we strive to make all our designs as green and energy-efficient as possible. Our Sonoma County fine home builders are passionate about reducing energy consumption and building a better tomorrow for California. If you are interested in building a luxury home in Northern California and want to make sure you comply with the 2022 Energy Code and implement other green building standards, our team is ready to discuss your project.