January 1, 2014 will not only ring in a new year, but it will also bring a wide range of code changes as the new 2013 California Energy Code (CEC) takes effect. In order to help Nacht & Lewis stay up to date with the new requirements and regulations, engineers from Capital Engineering Consultants and The Engineering Enterprise stopped by to give a lunchtime presentation on the new code changes. With nearly the entire office in attendance, the presentation kicked-off with Tom Duval and Aaron Wintersmith from Capital Engineering Consultants describing the changes on the mechanical side of the CEC.
A major cost to any building is the amount of energy used to heat and cool the occupied spaces, and it is no surprise that the newest changes to the CEC aim to improve the efficiency of how we condition the spaces we design. Two areas of note, with certain exceptions*, that have become more stringent are:
Mandatory Requirements for Fenestration per ยง110.6 – The new changes involve more testing and certification on glazing assemblies. These new requirements are designed to ensure that window systems that consist of large expanses (1,000 s.f. or more) of glass are able to properly insulate against large temperature swings in the interior of a building as the outside temperatures change.
Mandatory Insulation Requirements per ยง120.7 – The change to the insulation requirement increases the required insulation value on metal stud wall assemblies thus potentially increasing wall thicknesses and overall project cost.
“From my perspective, the mandatory insulation requirements per code will be the biggest challenge for architects.” – Aaron Wintersmith, Associate, Senior Energy Analyst
Andy Bell from The Engineering Enterprise followed Aaron to point out several changes in the requirements for lighting and power design in our building designs. The focus of the changes for this code cycle pertaining to lighting seemed to focus on the areas of controls and metering. Two of the main changes relate to:
Indoor Lighting Controls per ยง130.1 – Specialized controls and occupancy sensors are now required in most building spaces, and in many instances they need to dim lighting levels to account for available ambient daylighting in addition to just being on or off.
Outdoor Lighting Controls and Equipment per ยง130.2 – All outdoor lighting fixtures are now subject to new mandatory occupancy based motion sensors and automatic control devices.
“Related to lighting, we are seeing increased controls, higher sophistication and more cost.” – Andy Bell, Associate, P.E., LEED AP
As a firm with a focus on essential services and correctional facilities where security (site and operational) is of the utmost importance, the new code requirements in regards to site lighting are extremely important to recognize and investigate.
While the presentation covered two separate disciplines and a variety of codes sections, the common thread was a need for increased collaboration and communication between the design team, owner and contractor. The intent behind these changes is to improve the efficiency of our designs and in the end, provide a building that is cheaper to operate. However as is typically the case, the first cost of implementing these changes will be significant. The new challenge will not only be designing all of our new systems to comply with code and achieve the efficiency necessary for a well-designed building, but to also find ways to make these systems work within the project budget. Thanks to The Engineering Enterprise and Capital Engineering Consultants, Nacht & Lewis now has an even greater understanding of these new requirements in a collaborative and productive way that will allow us to provide the best service to our consultants and clients.
*As with any code section, there are exceptions to these requirements and their application.