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Advocacy Update August 2021

New 2022 Building Codes 

Electrification is moving forward.

California updates its building codes on a three-year cycle. The most recent updates to the building code will go into effect in 2022. In 1978 California created Title 24, Part 6, in response to the global energy crisis. Commonly referred to as Title 24, T 24, or the energy code, this section of the building code includes a broad set of requirements designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Title 24 has been incredibly successful. Implementing energy savings into building codes has allowed energy use in the state to remain constant even as the population increased significantly. The chart below of per capita energy use illustrates the favorable impact of T-24 regulations.

Per Capita Energy Use – California vs. Other states

Per capita energy use - California v other states

Credit: EIA, U.S. Census Bureau

The new T-24, 2022 building standards take things a step further and include several requirements designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions primarily by supporting building electrification.

There are four new areas to be aware of in T-24, 2022: 

  1. Encouraging electric heat pump technology
  2. Establishing electric-ready requirements
  3. Expanding solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and battery storage
  4. Strengthening ventilation standards

Early conversations included more of a push towards all-electric homes. Even though it comes up a bit shy of expectations, we are encouraged to see decarbonization and electrification making its way into the building codes.

United Nations – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report 

Climate change is real, and it’s too late to stop it. We need to act fast to minimize impacts.

As you have likely heard from various sources, the United Nations IPCC has just released a report analyzing the impacts of climate change.  The results they found are not great. The IPCC has concluded the “climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying.”

The first report from the IPCC on climate change was released in 1990. At the time, they concluded the effects would be evident but did not confirm that they were happening. Flash forward 30+ years, and the evidence is overwhelming. We have attributable events that prove that the climate is changing. There is also conclusive proof that human activities are the principal cause of the change.

Improvements in data collection instrumentation, such as satellite observation tools and sophisticated testing, and monitoring methods have proven that climate change is real. Not only is it confirmed it is happening today, and humans are to blame. The report further points out that it’s too late to stop the damaging impacts of climate change and that we must act swiftly and effectively to mitigate other negative consequences.

The main driver of the warming planet is heat-absorbing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, released from the combustion of fossil fuels. Deforestation and agriculture also increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as they release methane and carbon dioxide.

To many, this comes as no surprise. In fact, a newspaper article in 1912 established the connection between burning coal and elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. It described the impacts of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere as “an effective blanket for the earth” and that it would raise the earth’s temperature. The article went on to suggest “the effects may be “considerable” in a few centuries.” Well, the effects are here, they are considerable, and it took a lot less time than we expected.  

Although this information is a bit depressing, hopefully, it will help drive the climate change conversation forward and finally convince the masses that it is time to do something about climate change. The time to act is now,  while we still have the ability to make a difference.

Charley Cormany

Executive Director

Read Advocacy Update from last month: Advocacy Update, July 2021