Renewables in 2016 (Current) and 2019 Nonresidential / High-rise Residential Energy Standard

When it comes to renewables for nonresidential buildings (i.e. commercial, education, office), high-rise residential multifamily (4 habitable stories or higher), and hotel/motel buildings, the ability to use renewable systems towards building energy efficiency design flexibility is not as robust as for low-rise residential. The Zero Net Energy (ZNE) goal for these building types is set for 2030, but more must be done to reduce building energy use through building efficiency measures in the Energy Standards before renewables are allowed to trade away building efficiency. Building type currently dictates types of renewable systems considered for energy compliance.

New Construction: Nonresidential

  • 2016: There are no renewable energy systems that allow for building energy-efficiency trade-offs for nonresidential buildings. Solar ready requirements must be integrated into the building infrastructure for nonresidential buildings 3 stories above grade or less (conditioned or unconditioned). This allows the building owner to add future solar systems more cost-effectively.
  • 2019: No changes

New Construction: High-rise Residential, Multifamily and Hotel/Motel

  • 2016: Since these occupancy types typically use a lot of domestic hot water, solar thermal water heating systems are prescriptively required. However, this can be traded away via the performance approach by installing some equally energy-efficient combination of other building features for the specific climate zone. Solar ready measures must be included for buildings 10 stories or less.
  • 2019: No changes

Additions: All Occupancies

  • 2016 and 2019: If the addition is over 2,000 ft², then solar ready measures are required (conditioned or unconditioned spaces).

Alterations: All Occupancies

  • 2016 and 2019: None of these requirements apply to alterations.

decoding renewables

The above resource is from Decoding Renewables, available through Energy Code Ace at these links: Recording:

Handout: Decoding%20Renewables%2012152018%20HANDOUT.pdf

Gina Rodda is the host of the Decoding Talk series which goes live with new topics bimonthly.

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