Title 24 compliance can be complicated unless you are a qualified professional mechanical, plumbing, or electrical engineer. However, there are a couple of ways to break this down into simpler terms that help you make everyday decisions in your best interest.
Let's take Roofing as an example.
Even within this one category, you still have two important subcategories – cool roof and the new solar roof mandate. A cool roof is constructed with materials reflecting a higher than normal amount of solar rays away from the structure (infrared, visible, and ultraviolet). The new solar roof mandate takes effect in 2020 by requiring all new homes under three stories to install solar panels.
Cool roofs have benefits beyond title 24 compliance, which is mostly about reducing power plant emissions. A direct benefit to you as the owner is a longer roof lifespan because of the limited exposure to hot temperatures. Another personal benefit is less likeliness of power outages because of lower power demand.
Key to a cool roof is the correct outer surface and color. Similar to a person wearing light-colored clothes on a sunny day, a white roof reflects the most sunlight. However, there are a variety of qualifying colors available. Another important title 24 compliance concern is that these roofs are durable enough to maintain a certain level of solar reflectivity after three years.
Solar roofs are groundbreaking when it comes to the advancement of clean energy. As a result of energy storage and efficiency, solar is expected to slash energy use in new homes by more than 50%. Even that savings assumes the house still uses some natural gas for heating, cooking, and other needs. Something not yet in the cost calculation in saving is purchasing an electric vehicle powered by your own solar roof.
Title 24 Compliance – Performance or Prescriptive?
There are two basic paths: performance and prescriptive. This applies to mechanical and structural systems as well as lighting and plumbing. You need to assess which path to take before beginning a project or new construction. Choosing one or the other can mean significant project cost savings. A good energy modeler and design team provides adequate information for each option.
The prescriptive path meets specific requirements for design and material selection. Each aspect of the building is evaluated for compliance. This is easier to design but can result in higher construction costs and may not obtain the best total energy reduction. The prescriptive method does not allow credit for a system exceeding minimum requirements to transfer to a different and less efficient system. For instance, a highly efficient HVAC system cannot transfer credits to allow for lower cost windows. The minimum requirements for each individual system must be met.
The performance path uses computer software to assess energy consumption for the entire building. This can be the better option for reducing project costs and further reducing energy use. For instance, installing LED lighting and high-efficiency HVAC can allow for lower cost windows if the overall building energy is achieved.