2016 New Title-24 Energy Code Summary of Changes

The effective date for the 2016 Title-24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards is January 1, 2017 and incorporate new measures to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The new 2013 energy code is significantly more restrictive however introduce a number of new energy credits that can be used to leverage a project into compliance in a cost effective manner.

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Changes to the 2016 Title-24 Residential Standards:

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Mandatory Measures:

These represent building construction standards that are not negotiable, they cannot be “traded-off” in the Title-24 calculations.

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Building Envelope Mandatory Measures:

Ceiling/roof minimum insulation: R-22 with wood framing or 0.043 U-factor.  This is an reduction from the R-30 minimum level in the 2013 Title-24 energy code.

Mass (non-framed) walls: R-13 batt insulation/wood framed or 0.102 U-factor.

Maximum glass U-factor: 0.58  This is unchanged from the 2013 Title-24 energy code.  (New exception allows up to 30 sq. ft. of dual pane greenhouse windows)

Doors (including pet doors): Must meet maximum of 0.3 cfm/sq. ft. air leakage rate.

Building envelope prescriptive baselines have been tightened:

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High performance walls:

In climate zones 1-5 and 8-16 above grade framed walls must not exceed a maximum U-factor of 0.051 which breaks down to:

2×6 framing @16″ OC framing- R-19 cavity insulation plus R5 rigid insulation

2×4 framing @ 16″ OC framing- R15 cavity insulation plus R8 rigid insulation

In climate zones 6 & 7 the maximum U-factor is 0.065

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Windows/glass doors:

The prescriptive U-factor and SHGC values remain unchanged from the previous 2013 code.  Good news!

New prescriptive maximum U-factor: 0.32

New Prescriptive maximum SHGC: 0.25

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High Performance Attics (New)

The 2016 Title-24 Code introduces the High Performance Attic feature as baseline.  What is a High Performance Attic?

The new code gives you (3) options to comply:

 

Option A:

Ducts and air handler located in the attic plus:

Install attic radiant barrier (Zones 2 thru 15) plus:

Install R-38 insulation at ceiling (R-30 in zones 3 and 5 thru 7) plus:

Install continuous rigid roof deck insulation (Zones 4 and 8-16) as follows:

R-6 rigid with air space above batt insulation or R-8 with no air space above batt insulation.

Option B:

Ducts and air handler located in the attic plus:

Install attic radiant barrier (Zones 2 ,3 & 5-7) plus:

Install R-38 insulation at ceiling (R-30 in zones 3 and 5 thru 7) plus:

Install below roof deck insulation (at rafter) (Zones 4 and 8-16) as follows:

R-13 rigid with air space above batt insulation or R-18 with no air space above batt insulation.

Option C:

Ducts and air handler located entirely in conditioned space plus:

Install attic radiant barrier (Zones 2 thru 15) plus:

Install R-38 insulation at ceiling (R-30 in zones 3 and 5 thru 7)

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HVAC Mandatory Measures:

All ducts within conditioned space must have R-4.2 duct insulation.

Duct leakage requirements has been reduced (tightened) to 5% maximum for single family homes.

HVAC prescriptive upgrades:

Good news:  Whole house fans must now only supply 1.5 cfm per sq. ft. which is reduced from 2 cfm per sq. ft. in the previous 2013 code.  Attic vent area also reduced to 1 sq. ft. per 750 cfm of airflow.

 

.New HVAC airflow and fan efficiency testing requirements

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Mandatory Requirements:

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Duct sealing in all Climate Zones

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Duct airflow testing or return duct design

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Lighting: Improved and clarified mandatory lighting requirements

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Hot water heating:  Pipe insulation on pipes 3/4″ and larger

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PV Solar: New Title-24 credit,  also minimum of 250 sq. ft. of solar ready zone required on single family roofs.

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New indoor ventilation requirements mandate that all low-rise residential buildings must have a whole house ventilation system that provides a calculated minimum amount of outdoor air by using either a continuously running bathroom fan or a supply or return air ventilation thru a central HVAC system. The minimum ventilation volume must be a minimum of 1 cfm for each 100 sq. ft. of floor area plus 7.5 cfm for each occupant. The number of occupants is determined by multiplying the number of bedrooms and then adding one. For example a 3 bedroom, 1,800 square foot townhouse would require 48 cfm of continuous ventilation.

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New HVAC systems must prescriptively comply with new refrigerant charge, proper airflow, and fan watt draw verification inspections performed by certified HERS raters. Duct testing is another HERS verification inspection that was an optional compliance credit in the previous Title-24 standards but now is a mandatory requirement in the 2016 standards. In addition for the first time the new standards will track the time of energy use in the compliance algorithms. A home that experiences its greatest energy use and solar load during peak electrical cost periods will be severely penalized in the new energy code and find it very difficult to comply. Homes that are use strategies to shift energy use to off-peak hours will realize large credits in the compliance calculations that can be used to offset other design priorities such as larger windows or a challenging on-site building orientation.

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New HERS measures have been introduced requiring third-party, independent verification such as airtight air handler boxes, high efficient furnace fans, refrigerant charge indicator displays (CID) and correctly sizing the air conditioner, all new for 2016. These HERS measures are Title-24 credits that can be traded-off for other more flexibility in other areas of the home or can also be used to bring the project into compliance with state and utility incentive programs that provide financial rewards for.

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Overall the new 2016 Title-24 Building Energy Standards are roughly 30% more restrictive than the previous 2013 standards they replace.

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