Contact Us

Thinking Ahead for Energy-Efficiency Standards: A Title 24 Primer

The California Energy Commission approved updated building efficiency standards back in June. With about a year before the new Title 24 standards go into effect, Bisnow reconnected with Melissa Pesci of HGA Architects and Engineers in San Francisco to go over her top recommendations for reducing upfront costs when it comes to Title 24.


By Jan. 1, 2017, new and renovated buildings will need to meet the standards to reduce energy used for lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and water heating. San Francisco is one of the first cities in the state to enforce the implementation of these standards, and is looking to work towards reducing energy consumption by at least 30% across the board.

1. Think ahead

This was the main piece of advice Melissa gave us back in September, and it hasn't changed: Remember that if you renovate an area completely, all of the lighting within that area will need to change as well. Dividing a conference room into two separate offices requires less lighting renovation than knocking down walls to create an open office space (which will cause you to have to update all lighting within the office).


2. Keep light fixture upgrades to a minimum

Upgrades to more than 10% of the total existing lighting system require that all fixtures be replaced. If planning to replace existing light fixtures, consider replacing 10% or less of the total fixtures in each room to avoid upgrading controls.

3. Don’t overdo it

Try not to alter the original wiring. Instead, simply substitute the current light fixture/bulb for a Title 24-approved light fixture/bulb.

(Above and below are pictures from one of HGA's recent projects, the headquarters of video technology startup Ooyala in Santa Clara, which meet all the necessary requirements for energy efficiency and sustainability—and look pretty cool as well.)


4. Go green

From a price point, LED light fixtures are now comparable with traditional fixtures and are helpful in meeting these new requirements easily. They use 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer, according to the US Department of Energy.

5. Keep it local

Consider local manufacturers over non-local manufacturers for lighting controls and fixtures when possible, as the lead time for delivery can be less, helping to reduce the overall construction timeline.