Monday, February 18, 2013

Title 24

We are about to start a house remodel in California - and California has this incredibly complex set of rules and regulations called Title 24. They relate to lighting, heating, energy efficiency primarily. The intent was good but there are some really ugly underlying issues:
  • Because it specifies specific makes and models as qualifying the ability to use new technology is constrained
  • It also assumes specific construction practices which often collide with other issues you might care about - like seismic construction
 It would have been better if the energy efficiency had been driven by a tax on the fuel source - like a carbon tax but that was probably undoable but my biggest complaint is that Title 24's key driving metric is "energy use per square foot".

So instead of trying to minimize energy use per person living in the house we are forced to focus on energy use per square foot. So really big houses are better because you can have more internal volume (inside rooms, closets etc.) than a tiny house with relatively more windows.

The other problem of course is that the rules are complex enough that you have to hire 3rd parties to run the software to tell the permit people what your score is, which means of course that now we have a new special interest group that will lobby to insure that the rules never become simple.

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