Understanding Title 24: California’s Energy Efficiency Building Standards

Carbon,dioxide,emissions,control,concept.,3d,rendering,of,co2,cloudUnderstanding Title 24: California’s Energy Efficiency Building Standards

Title 24, also known as the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards, is a collection of regulations that dictate the minimum energy efficiency requirements for new construction and renovation of existing buildings in California. The standards apply to residential and non-residential buildings, and have been amended and updated multiple times since 1978 to ensure continuous improvement in energy efficiency. This blog post will provide an overview of Title 24 and its significance in California’s energy future.


Title 24 emphasizes energy efficiency in buildings by addressing everything from the minimum energy performance of windows, insulation, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, to lighting and controls. The regulations are designed to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by a specific percentage compared to the previous version of Title 24. The energy-saving requirements for Title 24 are divided into two parts: the prescriptive approach and the performance approach.

Prescriptive Approach

The prescriptive approach is a straightforward method that sets precise requirements for every component of a building’s energy usage. A building that meets these requirements is considered to comply with Title 24. This approach covers everything from lighting and HVAC systems to insulation, building envelope, and water heating. The prescriptive approach is also known as “package measures,” which means that the measures must be selected as a package and cannot be separated from each other.

Performance Approach

The performance approach is a more flexible approach that allows architects and engineers to customize the design of a building to meet specific energy targets. In this approach, the building performance is measured against a benchmark or energy standard, and the performance of the entire building is considered together. That is, the requirements for each component of energy usage are not individually specified but evaluated together based on a holistic approach to energy use.

Title 24: 2019 Update

In 2019, California updated Title 24 with several new policies covering both residential and non-residential buildings. The update requires solar panels on almost all new houses, apartments, and condos, with some exceptions based on shading, roof angle, and other factors. Additionally, the update improves the energy efficiency for newly constructed buildings, including a push for electrification, which promotes the use of electric-powered HVAC and water heating systems instead of fossil fuels. This update is projected to reduce greenhouse gases by three million metric tons and save Californians $1.7 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years.

Why Title 24 Is Important

Title 24 is an important regulation in California’s efforts to mitigate climate change and transition to a clean energy future. Buildings are responsible for 38% of California’s total energy usage and 25% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, Title 24 helps reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, while also providing a more comfortable living environment for occupants.

In addition, Title 24 also helps stimulate the growth of a sustainable economy in California. The regulations promote the use of innovative technology in building design, construction, and operation. This has created a surge in demand for energy-efficient products and services, which has led to an increase in jobs in the clean energy sector.

Challenges to Implementation

Despite its benefits, Title 24 has faced several challenges in implementation. One of the main challenges is that it increases the cost of building new structures, which has caused concerns among developers and builders. However, the benefits of energy efficiency far outweigh the initial costs, as it can lead to long-term savings on energy bills.

Another challenge is the lack of enforcement. Although the regulations are in place, not all buildings comply with the standards. This is due to a lack of enforcement by state and local agencies, which results in non-compliance going unchecked, and more energy being wasted.


Title 24 is a crucial regulation in California’s efforts to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. The regulations set minimum standards for energy efficiency in new construction and renovation of existing buildings, promoting the use of sustainable and innovative technologies. Despite challenges, such as increased initial costs and enforcement issues, Title 24 has contributed to the growth of a sustainable economy and creates a more comfortable living environment for occupants. As climate change continues to be a significant threat, Title 24 will remain a critical tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning towards a cleaner energy future.