2019 Building Efficiency Standards

The 2019 California Energy Code became effective on January 1st, 2020.

Key areas of focus include residential photovoltaic (PV) systems, thermal envelope standards, and non-residential lighting requirements. Homes built since the implementation of this code average 53% more energy efficient when compared to the 2016 standards.

Beginning with the 2019 energy code all new low-rise single family and multifamily buildings are required to have a solar PV system installed unless the building qualifies for an exception. The minimum qualifying size of the PV system is based on the projected annual electrical usage.

How much will the new PV requirements cost?

On average these new requirements will add around $8,400 to the cost of a single family residence. Where initial cost is a concern the option to lease PV systems is an option. Leased PV systems have little or no initial costs and can offer up to 20% savings on an electric bill. In the future shared solar systems could also become available which similarly would have little or no upfront costs.

Will this cost make owning a home in California even less affordable?

No. The benefits of adding solar power to your home outweigh its costs. Generally, the reduced cost of utilities outweighs the increased mortgage payment by about $35.

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Local Ordinances Exceeding 2019 Energy Code

Jurisdictions in California who wish to enforce local energy standards are required to apply for approval to the California Energy Commission (CEC). Local jurisdictions must create a process to adopt building efficiency standards stricter than California's statewide requirements. Listed below are jurisdictions that have adopted local energy standards:

  • Berkeley

  • Brisbane

  • Burlingame

  • Campbell

  • Chula Vista

  • Cupertino

  • Davis

  • East Palo Alto

  • Hayward

  • Healdsburg

  • Los Altos

  • Los Altos Hills

  • Los Angeles County

  • Los Gatos

  • Marin County

  • Millbrae

  • Menlo Park

  • Mill Valley

  • Milpitas

  • Mountain View

  • Pacifica

  • Palo Alto

  • Redwood City

  • Richmond

  • San Anselmo

  • San Francisco

  • San Jose

  • San Luis Obispo

  • San Mateo

  • San Mateo County

  • San Rafael

  • Santa Monica

  • Santa Rosa

  • Saratoga

  • Sunnyvale

  • West Hollywood

  • Windsor

Excerpted from the CEC Title 24 energy compliance manual