According to a recent report, new California construction could see a drastic cut in energy use if the state upgraded its commercial building energy codes to a “Low Energy Case,” which is a model that increases building energy efficiency beyond ASHRAE 90.1-2007. Potential figures are:
- Energy use: -19.8%,
- Energy costs: -24.5%
- Carbon emissions: -22.6%
- Life-cycle cost: -1.3%
The report, “Benefits and Costs of Energy Standard Adoption in New Commercial Buildings: State-by-State Summaries,” makes use of a new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) database and software, which allows for the simulation and analysis of energy efficiency measurements for buildings. The tool, known as Building Industry Reporting and Design for Sustainability (BIRDS), is expected to be publicly released as a free resource in the upcoming year.
Energy standards currently adopted by states range from ASHRAE 90.1-1999 to ASHRAE 90.1-2007, while some states do not have a code requirement for energy efficiency. This report allows users to see how upgrading to newer codes could affect the local jurisdiction.
To see how other states stack up, see NIST's full report.