When lawmakers in Hollywood set goals to make the state run on 100% renewable energy by 2045, they were serious. California has become the first state in the United States to mandate solar panel installations on most single-family homes and multi-family residential buildings up to three stories.
Most of the headlines surrounding this news revolved around solar panels, but the bulk of the new law focuses on improving energy efficiency on new constructions.
These updates are in reference to the new building code the state of California passed called, “2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards”. California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards are updated on an approximately three-year cycle. The 2019 Standards build on the 2016 Standards for new buildings. The 2019 Standards will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
The building code focuses on four key areas – smart residential photovoltaic systems, updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa), residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements, and nonresidential lighting requirements.
Lawmakers hope this law will allow California to meet its ambitious renewable energy and emission reduction targets it has set out for itself. When passing this law, politicians were fully aware that this law would slightly increase the cost of new homes. But over the long term, the savings in energy cost would make it worth it.
“On average, the 2019 standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about $9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years.”
This is a huge win for environmental advocates around the world. The impact of this new law has implications beyond the California state borders. With 39.5 million people residing in California, it makes up 12% of the United States population. But the most eye opening statistic is that in 2017 the economy of California produced 2.7 trillions dollars. Largely lead by its technology, and entertainment industries.
If California were a separate country, its economy would be the fifth largest in the world. This would place the golden state behind the US, China, Japan, and Germany. Making it Californian economy larger than the entire economy of the United Kingdom.
If California can reach its 100% renewable energy target – that should give hope to what can be achieved in regions around the world!