California Building Codes

Current Commercial Code of California

California

The current Commercial Building Code of California, as outlined in the 2022 edition of the California Building Standards Code (Title 24), includes comprehensive regulations for commercial structures regarding safety, accessibility, and sustainability. The code incorporates amended versions of the International Building Code 2021 (IBC 2021), covering diverse areas such as fire safety, mechanical, plumbing, energy, and electrical systems. Specific amendments to the 2021 IBC address regional requirements and enhancements, ensuring that commercial buildings adhere to high safety and efficiency standards, reflecting California’s specific needs related to seismic activity, climate, and technological advancements. These standards are enforceable by state and local building departments to maintain consistency across the state.

Read More: Los Angeles City Building Codes 

Current Residential Code

The current Residential Code of California, as specified in the 2022 California Residential Code, modifies the 2021 International Residential Code (IRC 2021) to tailor it to the state’s unique requirements. This code governs the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal, and demolition of detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories in height. The amendments made to the standard IRC reflect California’s specific needs concerning seismic safety, fire hazards, and environmental conditions, ensuring that residential buildings provide safe, sustainable, and efficient living spaces. These regulations are mandatory and enforceable across all jurisdictions within the state to maintain uniformity and safety in residential construction.


Code Adoption and Change Process

Code Change Process

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is authorized to establish building energy efficiency requirements, both the California Energy Code and CALGreen. CEC is responsible for overseeing the public process and rulemaking proceeding.

Code Change Cycle

California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards are updated on an approximately three-year cycle.

Next Code Update

 


History

Information on previous California energy standards is available here.

January 1, 2017 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Go Into Effect The 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards become effective, introducing enhanced measures for energy conservation in new building constructions. Read the press release here.
September 4, 2015 Publication of the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan The California Energy Commission publishes the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan, outlining strategies to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings across the state.
July 1, 2014 2013 Standards Become Effective The 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards take effect, expected to achieve 25% more energy savings compared to the 2008 Standards. These include advanced measures for both commercial and residential buildings, surpassing the efficiency levels of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 and the 2012 IECC respectively.
January 23, 2013 Approval of 2013 Standards for Publication The Building Standards Commission approves the 2013 Standards for publication, setting the stage for their implementation the following year.
May 24, 2012 Editorial Advocacy for Energy Code Update The San Francisco Chronicle publishes an editorial titled “A Green Future Starts at Home for Californians,” advocating for the update to California’s state building energy code (Title 24, Part 6), highlighting widespread support from various stakeholders.
2012 Preparation and Approval of 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards The California Energy Commission prepares and approves updates to the state building energy code (Title 24, Part 6), aiming for significant energy savings over previous standards, with public comments and hearings facilitating the process. View the slide presentation on the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.
February 2011 Ground-Breaking Green Building Legislation in San Francisco San Francisco passes groundbreaking legislation requiring non-residential building owners to benchmark and publicly disclose energy use, with future mandates for energy audits in larger commercial properties.
January 12, 2010 Adoption of CALGREEN California adopts the nation’s first mandatory green building standards, CALGREEN, effective January 1, 2011. This code mandates reductions in water use, waste diversion, and the use of low-emitting materials, among other environmental standards.
January 1, 2010 Effectiveness of 2008 Standards The 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards become effective, showing an average energy performance improvement of at least 21% over ASHRAE 90.1-2004.
October 11, 2009 Legislative Developments in Building Energy Efficiency Assembly Bill No. 758 is approved, mandating the California Energy Commission to develop a comprehensive program for energy savings in existing building stock, with the PUC investigating energy efficiency financing options.
September 2009 $3.1 Billion Energy Efficiency Budget Approved The California Public Utilities Commission approves a three-year $3.1 billion energy efficiency budget aimed at retrofitting residential buildings, making public buildings more energy efficient, and promoting zero net energy homes and commercial buildings. Source
February 2, 2009 Zero Net Energy Bill Introduced A bill is introduced in the state assembly mandating “zero net energy” standards for residential buildings starting in 2020, though it does not pass.
December 14, 2004 Green Building Initiative by Governor Schwarzenegger Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issues Executive Order S-20-04, directing the California Energy Commission to enhance energy efficiency in nonresidential buildings by 20% by 2015 as part of the Green Building Initiative.
1974-1975 Establishment of the California Energy Commission Following the Warren-Alquist Act, the California Energy Commission is established, tasked with creating energy efficiency requirements for buildings, initially setting statewide energy standards in 1975 for low-rise residential buildings by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Contacts

Eurlyne Geiszler
Office Manager
Building Standards Office
California Energy Commission
Email: Eurlyne.Geiszler@energy.ca.gov

Marcia Smith
Office Manager
Standards Implementation Office
California Energy Commission
Email: Marcia.Smith@energy.ca.gov


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