All California businesses and homeowners with renovation plans need to be familiar with Title 24 compliance. The regulations are updated every three years with the most recent in 2019 that took effect in 2020. All new construction is covered as well as additions and renovations of existing spaces. Repairs of existing components, equipment, and systems are generally exempt from updated compliance.
Title 24 refers to renovations as alterations and it distinguishes such from repairs. The exact definitions vary significantly depending on the systems affected (for example roofs, or heating and cooling systems). The most general definition is that repairs shall not increase the preexisting energy consumption of the repaired component, system, or equipment.
If the use of a space or the occupancy changes it will be an alteration. For instance, converting an enclosed porch into a living space changes the use. This would be considered an addition that must meet current Title 24 compliance.
Alterations generally involve changes to the building envelop or changing equipment (including different components and entire systems). Examples of changes to the building envelope include installing new windows or adding insulation. These types of changes require Title 24 compliance. A system change that requires compliance certification would be replacing a water heater with an on-demand or other hot water system.
Repairs are limited to fixing something that has broken. An existing furnace system for example can be repaired as long as it is not replaced. Replacing the entire furnace or even major components must be Title 24 compliant.
Title 24 energy compliance is necessary for any new installations or retrofits in existing buildings. Previously compliant buildings do not have to upgrade as long as alterations are not made. However, if you choose to renovate, your new systems must meet Title 24 standards.
There are many benefits from energy efficiency. It will reduce energy costs and improve comfort for your occupants. Alterations typically improve aesthetic appeal. Broader benefits are improved upon the dependability of the electrical power grid and reducing environmental impacts. Individual businesses and all of us benefit from clean air, water, and a livable climate.