Making sense of Title 24 and the Building Energy Efficiency Standards can feel like splitting hairs when it comes to your current or upcoming project — especially when you are juggling multiple systems that require code compliance! But as a California architect, general contractor, MEP contractor, or project developer you may be wondering, “how does Title 24 affect HVAC design?”
You’ve come to the right place. Balanced Comfort has been dealing with energy efficient and safe MEP design here in California since 2012, and we specialize in Title 24 reports to help you remain compliant, and get back to what you do best — building!
Understanding Title 24
The goal of Title 24 and Building Energy Efficiency Standards is simple: ensure an energy efficient, comfortable future for the residential and commercial buildings throughout the state of California. When it comes to HVAC equipment, this means properly sizing any heating and cooling equipment for the space it will condition, reducing any air leakage into unconditioned spaces, and providing the right control systems for energy efficient user operation. Title 24 compliance can certainly be an intimidating process, but in the end, it means you are building a better product, and helping reduce California’s energy consumption!
Title 24 HVAC Requirements
There are three main areas of your upcoming HVAC design that will need to be verified in order to be Title 24 compliant:
Any ductwork and plenum related to your HVAC design will be required by Title 24 to sealed and insulated. The only exception is if your ductwork will be entirely enclosed in a conditioned space (this way any air leakage is still heating or cooling the conditioned space, just not as directly.) Ductwork leakage must be HERS verified and insulated with a value of R-8 or R-11, depending on your climate zone.
Though there are no limits to the actual size of the heating and cooling equipment of your next project, Title 24 does require that you properly calculate the heating and cooling load of your project. This is to better size your HVAC equipment for long lasting efficiency. HVAC Financing is a option you can go with when purchasing a new unit.
Have you noticed more and more smart thermostats around lately? That’s because they are now required by Title 24. Automatic setback thermostats and programmable, smart thermostats allow occupants to mirror their own schedule on their heating and cooling systems. There are no requirements for the occupant to actually use the programmable settings, but they are required to be installed during construction!
*exceptions to this are non-central heating and cooling equipment (like mini-splits or heat pumps), wood stoves and fireplaces, and gravity gas heaters.