On May 9, the California Energy Commission announced that it has “adopted building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020.” The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are expected to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.” California will be the first in the nation to require solar. The new standards take effect on January 1, 2020.

The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards focus on four key areas:

  1. smart residential photovoltaic systems,
  2. updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa),
  3. residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements, and
  4. nonresidential lighting requirements.

The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards also establish requirements for newly constructed healthcare facilities.

Under the new standards, nonresidential buildings are expected to use approximately 30% less energy due mainly to required lighting upgrades. For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the new standards will save approximately $40 to an average monthly payment, but save approximately $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.