Changes to California’s building code Title 24 will impact the rest of the commercial real estate industry because these codes set the standard for highly efficient and effective building design and operations across the country. Efficient energy and water use is a major focus of the 2016 changes.
But don’t worry, friends! These changes will make the commercial real estate industry better. As your buildings become more energy efficient, your current tenants will appreciate the proactive changes and new tenants will be attracted to your buildings.
Here’s what you need to know to maintain your competitive advantage:
Title 24, California’s infamous building code standards, is updated every three years. Energy efficiency measures are the major focus in this update because all new non-residential buildings must be zero net energy by 2030.
That’s right! In just a few years, all new buildings in California will be zero net energy–that is, the building’s energy consumption must be equal to or less than the energy produced. Zero net energy is achieved through smart operations, energy-efficient equipment and appliances, energy storage systems, and (most importantly) the amount of renewable energy generated onsite (think solar panels on every rooftop).
According to Amber Beck of the California Energy Commission, there is a longer-term goal to achieve zero net energy in existing buildings. If CA state senators have their way, every building may be zero net energy in the near future, so you may as well be ahead of the curve!
Commercial buildings lose most of their energy in heating and cooling, but many buildings can adjust operating schedules to run only when they are occupied. Improving energy efficiency measures and adjusting operating schedules can greatly reduce your costs, regardless of your location.
Perhaps the most pressing issue influencing California’s Title 24 building code is the ongoing drought. Emergency building codes were implemented in June to start using water efficient measures in new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovations.
Although adherence to these laws are temporary, they were created to conserve water and implement more efficient measures swiftly. These can be beneficial to you when you’re trying to reduce water consumption. The emergency codes will undoubtedly become a permanent part of Title 24 in the 2016 update, so it’s in your best interest to make these water-saving measures part of your permanent building operations.
The changes above affect new and current property owners. Developers and property owners with new buildings must adjust their plans to ensure their buildings meet the new standards. They don’t really have an option.
But what about current property managers? Current owners want to maintain the great tenants they already have, but new properties pose a threat. New buildings are more energy and water efficient than existing buildings. Tenants want energy efficient buildings (especially if they’re paying for their own consumption with a triple net lease), so give them what they want! Potential new tenants and current tenants alike will be pleased with your innovative measures and energy efficient spaces.
Perhaps the bottom line is the most important factor. Have you read your energy bill lately? Were you shocked at the price? Don’t lose money to inefficient appliances and practices! Use the “best practices” of the new standards for your current building. Water submetering can help you better manage and understand your water use. Energy efficient appliances and lighting can help reduce your utility costs. Adjusting your operations can conserve energy and money.
So why wait for these changes to be mandates? Keep your amazing tenants and take charge of your building operations!