Sustainability: California Energy Code 2020 – Mechanical

Every year the Architecture Engineering Construction industry and designers have to scramble and keep up with new and improved building codes coming into effect the coming year. In this case, many of us are waiting for the upcoming 2019 Energy code updates (CALGreen) updates.

Although these new and existing provisions sometimes lack enforcement, specially in smaller jurisdictions, these can have a significant impact on project planning and development cost in larger metropolitan areas. In this series of upcoming articles we will be taking a look the major updates to the Energy code going into effect 2020 and how they can impact your future projects.


In general, the updates will add cost to new development and renovations, but are designed to significantly reduce the energy consumption over the life of the building. Figures will vary by project but a life-cycle or performance analysis can give a building owner data on how the building is saving money via these energy improvements.

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Mechanical-Single Family

  • Energy Design Rating (EDR)
    • Buildings performance is now  required to be classified by the to use an Energy Design Rating figure which ranges from 0 to 100.
    • A building with a score index of 100 which represents the building envelope performance meeting the requirements of the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A building with a score of Zero, is indicative of a building with Zero Net Energy consumption.
  • Dedicated Circuit for Water Heating System
    • Electrical panels must included a dedicated circuit 125 volts, 20amp receptacle with a 120/240 volt 3 conductor. Located a within 3-feet of the water heating system. The main purpose for this is to allow for future upgrade to a heat pump water heating system.
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  • Air Filtration Requirements
    • Air filters are now required for Forced Air Duct systems that supply air to occupiable spaces via ductwork of 10-feet or more in length.
  • Kitchen Hoods
    • Kitchen hoods will require HERS-verification, measuring airflow and maximum sound ratings per ASHREA. Refer to ASHREA relevant sections for specific Kitchen Hood requirements.
    • This can will improve the air quality in of the interior kitchen space but will add cost during construction, specifically for testing of the ductwork.


This concludes our brief take on the 2019 Energy Code  for Single Family Mechanical requirements.

On our next series of articles we will be exploring changes regarding Building Envelope, Solar/Photovoltaic, Lighting and Multi-Family Specific requirements. For more detailed information I would suggest to consult with a certified Energy Consultant for the specific needs of your project and review the code updates referenced below.


One thought on “Sustainability: California Energy Code 2020 – Mechanical

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