The California Energy Commission today unanimously approved upgraded building energy efficiency standards that one commissioner called "the strongest in the nation."
The new standards include improved windows, insulation, lighting, air-conditioning systems and other features to reduce energy consumption in California homes and businesses by a projected 25 percent or more.
The amended standards are due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, applying to new construction of homes and buildings from that day onward.
The Energy Commission says that, since 1978, energy efficiency standards it has approved have saved Californians more than $66 billion in electricity and natural gas costs.
The amended standards approved today are considered the most sweeping ever.
"These standards are the strongest in the nation ... giving us the most efficient buildings in the nation," said Commissioner Karen Douglas. "The package that the commission approved is the greatest savings increment that the commission has ever achieved in a standards update in over 30 years."
The amended standards were developed over many months in meetings with builders, installers, contractors, energy experts, environmental groups, utilities and others.
Residential requirements include solar-ready roofs, hot water pipe insulation and independent air-conditioning inspections. For nonresidential buildings, requirements include sensor-based lighting controls and more energy-efficient refrigeration equipment for supermarkets, commercial kitchens and computer data centers.
See more details in Friday's edition of The Sacramento Bee.
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