New Codes for Commercial Buildings: A Better Future with Clean Energy

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From CALSSA “Earlier this week the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved the 2022 California Energy Code, which sets the building standards for new construction. California will be the first state in the country to require builders to install solar and battery storage on new commercial buildings and high-rise multifamily buildings. The approved Energy Code also includes requirements for builders to design single-family homes so battery storage can be easily added to the already existing solar system in the future as well as incentives to eliminate natural gas from new buildings which should advantage solar water heating technologies.” 

The Energy Code now goes before the state’s Building Standards Commission which will likely include the solar requirement in its revised building code due for release by the end of the year.  If enacted, the plan to solarize commercial buildings would take effect in January 2023. The new requirements would impact new construction of select building types including grocery stores, high-rise multifamily buildings, offices, financial institutions, retail stores, schools, warehouses, auditoriums, conventions centers, hotels, motels, medical offices, restaurants and theaters. 

Benefits from the mandate consist of: 

  • Accelerating the installation of solar and energy storage across the state. 
  • Total annual PV market would increase approximately 22% due to the growth of solar in the commercial sector 
  • Would add 280 MW of solar annually according to CEC calculations 
  • Combined with continued installations on existing construction, would bring the total amount of commercial solar installed annually to over 600 MW – equivalent to the power produced by a typical natural gas power plant 
  • Add 400 MWh of batteries to commercial buildings

California is making the moves necessary to build a better future with clean energy. This seems fitting alongside the recent climate warnings from scientists. California’s renewable portfolio standard requires that 60% of electricity retail sales in California come from eligible renewable resources by 2030, and 100% by 2045. We must switch the electricity grid over to renewable sources of power like solar in order to achieve these energy goals.  

If you’re a company building commercial structures in the foreseeable future, CalCom Energy can help you navigate these new Energy Codes and lead the design, permitting, installation, and maintenance of your solar assets.