top of page

2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards 


The 2022 California Energy Code became effective on January 1st, 2023.

What's New in 2022

Every three years, the Energy Code undergoes an update by the California Energy Commission (CEC). The 2022 Energy Code was officially adopted by the CEC on August 11, 2021. Subsequently, in December, the California Building Standards Commission gave its approval for the code's integration into the California Building Standards Code. This 2022 Energy Code introduces incentives for efficient electric heat pumps, creates electric-ready mandates for new residences, broadens the standards for solar photovoltaic and battery storage, and amplifies ventilation standards among other provisions. Starting January 1, 2023, any building that applies for a permit will be required to adhere to the stipulations set out in the 2022 Energy Code.

Summary of Changes for Residential Buildings

The 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards introduced a crucial modification impacting single-family homes, primarily involving a transition to a single fuel baseline with a mandatory inclusion of heat pump for water or space heating based on the climatic region. An additional Energy Design Rating (EDR) measure, EDR1, was instituted, which calculates energy based on an hourly source. The standards also brought in multiple new regulations for enhancements and modifications to buildings. Furthermore, there were substantial adjustments made to regulations associated with indoor air quality.

Mandatory Requirements:

  1. For attic systems in newly built structures located in Climate Zones 4 and 8–16, the introduction of compulsory roof deck insulation is required. This insulation must attain an area-weighted average U-factor not exceeding 0.184 (Section 150.0[a]1).

  2. Ducts situated in conditioned spaces are allowed to be uninsulated, but only if they meet the specific conditions outlined in Section 4.4.1 (Section 150.0[m]1B).

  3. When gas equipment is installed, readiness for electric power is now obligatory for activities like space heating, cooking, and clothes drying. There should be an electrical infrastructure in place for future electric appliance installation at the equipment site (Sections 150.0[t]-[v]).

  4. The electric-ready prerequisites for gas water heaters have undergone revisions (Section 150.0[n]).

  5. The mechanical ventilation standards have been refreshed according to the 2019 version of ASHRAE 62.2 (Section 150.0[o]).

  6. The introduction of new standards for central fan integrated ventilation systems that necessitate a motorized control damper (Section 150.0[o]1B).

  7. There's an update to the local exhaust requirements for kitchen range hoods. Gas ranges necessitate greater ventilation rates or capture efficiencies than electric ones (Section 150.0[o]1G).

  8. Changes have been made to simplify the wording regarding hot water piping, aligning it with the Plumbing Code (Section 150.0[j]).

  9. There are revised requirements ready for Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) when installing gas water heaters, which include designating a space for future HPWH installation (See Electric Readiness — Chapter 10).

  10. New requirements for being ready to install battery storage infrastructure have been introduced (Section 150.0[s]).

Prescriptive Compliance:

  1. According to the prescriptive compliance method, heating systems in Climate Zones 3, 4, 13, and 14 must use a heat pump. In other climate zones, the choice of heating system can be either a heat pump or a gas heating system (Section 150.1[c]6).

  2. Using the prescriptive compliance approach, the water heating equipment should either be a heat pump water heater or a solar water heating system with an electric backup and a minimum solar fraction of 70 percent. However, for Climate Zones 3, 4, 13, and 14, the usage of a gas instantaneous water heater is allowed (Section 150.1[c]8).

Additions and Alterations:

  1. An exception has been incorporated, stipulating that Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs), considered as additions to an existing structure, aren't obliged to fulfill whole-building mechanical ventilation requirements. JADUs, which are no more than 500 square feet in size, exist entirely within an existing single-family residence.

  2. Additional clarification has been introduced regarding the circumstances under which mechanical ventilation requirements apply to alterations.

  3. Additions of 700 square feet or less must have ceiling insulation that meets R-38 in Climate Zones 1, 2, 4, and 8–16 and R-30 in Climate Zones 3 and 5–7.

  4. The cool roof stipulations for steep-sloped roof replacements have been extended to Climate Zones 4 and 8–9, with modifications made to the allowable exceptions.

  5. The cool roof requirements for low-sloped roof replacements have been broadened to include Climate Zones 4, 6–12, and 14, with the allowable exceptions being revised as well.

  6. There's a new stipulation for roof deck insulation for low-sloped roof replacements in Climate Zones 1, 2, 4, and 8–16. The insulation needs to meet R-14, or the roof assembly should have an equivalent U-factor of 0.039. There are several exceptions to this requirement.

  7. New wording has been introduced that amends the conditions under which replacement electric resistance space heating equipment is permissible.

  8. The target for sealing ducts in altered duct- and space-conditioning systems has been reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent of total duct leakage in all climate zones.

  9. The prescriptive duct insulation requirement has been raised from R-6 to R-8 in Climate Zones 1–2, 4, 8–10, and 12-13.

  10. The trigger for prescriptive duct sealing and insulation for altered systems has been reduced from 40 feet to 25 feet. The minimum length requirement for additions has been removed and duct sealing is now required whenever an existing duct system is extended to serve an addition.

  11. A prescriptive requirement has been added for insulation and sealing in vented attics when ceilings are altered or when a completely new or replacement duct system is installed in a vented attic. This applies to all climate zones except 5 and 7, and various exceptions are allowed.

  12. New doors that lead to an increase in exterior door area must comply with the new building requirements of having a maximum U-factor of 0.20.

bottom of page