Code Compliance

Complying with the California Energy Code
CA Climate Zones - EZ Building Climate Zone Finder (
CA 2019 Building Energy Standards - 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (
CA 2022 Building Energy Standards - 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (

Prescriptive: Using the prescriptive approach means following a set of steps to achieve compliance. California has 16 different climate zones, each requiring different prescriptive measures. The prescriptive approach can be good for HVAC change outs, window replacements, and other small improvements. The downside of this approach is that it doesn't allow for flexibility, tradeoffs, or customization. This method of compliance tells you exactly what's needed and there is no getting around that.

Performance: The performance approach is more favorable over the prescriptive approach because it allows for a lot more customization. This method of compliance is great for new construction homes because it allows the homeowner, builder, and designer to build how they want. When using this method, we can take tradeoffs on different parts of the building to get compliance. A higher efficiency water heater might allow for less insulation in the attic and vice versa.

Mixed Approaches: When it comes to Non-Residential (Commercial) projects, we can use different methods for different parts of the building. In general, the Non-Residential Energy Code is less stringent than the Residential code but a lot more components of the building come in to play. Certain areas of the Non-Residential code are stricter than others, which is why using both methods can make compliance easier and allow for building customization at the same time.

Note: No matter which approach is used to get compliance, Residential and Commercial buildings both need to meet MANDATORY requirements. There is no getting around MANDATORY measures.