Title 24 is the 24th title within the California Code of Regulations (CCR) and is the one of 26 titles reserved for unlegislated state regulations governing the design and construction of buildings, associated facilities and equipment; now commonly referred to as the “building standards”. It was first implemented to allow modification of the Uniform Building Code in 1978 to address two major concerns facing California residents:
At the conclusion of United States involvement in the Viet Nam War, thousands of veterans returned home with injuries causing physical disabilities. Handicap accessibility was not currently adequately addressed in the state adopted Uniform Building Code (UBC). California was the first state to address accessibility in its building code years before the Federal Government implemented ADA requirements which then only were only enforced through the Federal Court system.
California like the rest of the country, suffered from an energy crisis due to two separate oil embargos during the 1970’s causing the depletion of domestic oil reserves. Gasoline was rationed at service stations which did little to reduce the long gas lines that often exceeded blocks in length. Gasoline and diesel prices skyrocketed along with the cost of heating oil, coal and electricity. California’s ultimate goal was to encourage increased building efficiency and thus a reduction in energy demands while increasing the development of domestic oil exploration and construction of new oil refineries; increase the number of natural gas fired and nuclear power plants; and encourage the development of alternative energy sources. At the same time, California implemented strict guidelines for the improvement of the efficiency of automobiles under separate requirements.
In the years following, due to demands made by the sometimes radical environmental movement, California adopted a short sighted approach and abandoned all stated goals with the exception of alternative energy production and the ever increasing demands on the building industry to improve energy efficiency of new and remodeled buildings and the continued improvement of automobile efficiency.
Although most of us in the construction industry refer to Title 24 requirements as those stated above, the State of California now refers to the state adopted building code as Title 24 in its entirety.
Title 24 – Energy Compliance
The California Building Energy Efficiency Standards, including administrative and compliance requirements contained in Title 24, were first introduced in 1978 following the 1973 oil embargo and the creation of the California Energy Commission (CEC) in 1974. The Standards developed applied to both residential and nonresidential occupancy buildings.
The First Generation Residential Standards remained in effect until 1983, when the Second Generation Residential Standards were adopted for single family dwellings; and January 1984 for multi-family buildings. Compliance methods included Prescriptive Packages, Point System and Computer Performance methods based upon features prescribed in the Alternative Component Packages.
In January 1987, the Second Generation Standards for nonresidential occupancies went into effect and in July 1988, the lighting requirements switched formats for all nonresidential occupancies. The Second Generation Residential Standards were revised for low-rise residential occupancies in July 1988. Computer methods of compliance were then required to print out standardized forms. High-rise residential and hotel/motel occupancies were covered under the First Generation Standards until July 1992 when they were adopted under the Nonresidential Standards. The Standards were again revised in 1995, 2001, 2005, 2008, and 2013. In 2002 the authority of the CEC was expanded to include standards for outdoor lighting and signs.
The current 2016 Standards, adopted on January 1, 2017, still apply to all buildings that are mechanically heated or mechanically cooled resulting in directly or indirectly conditioned space. Nonresidential buildings must meet mechanical, envelope, and indoor and outdoor lighting requirements. Nonresidential occupancies that do not contain conditioned space only have to comply with indoor and outdoor lighting requirements contained in the Standards. Exempt occupancies include hospitals, nurseries for full-time child care, nursing homes, prisons (CBC Occupancy Group I) and buildings that are outside the jurisdiction of California Building Codes, like mobile structures.