Why California's new building code is good for Google (but dangerous for utilities)



By Jesse Berst


It's great to have a state that's willing to be a pioneer and take all the arrows that implies. The rest of us can watch from afar, see what works, then implement our own improved version.


I think California's new building code will have major implications for the state's utilities, most of them good. (For construction firms and HVAC contractors, however, it may prove another costly bureaucratic mishmash.)


Californians have to be ready for this by July when it kicks in. The rest of us have the luxury of more time. I predict this code will gradually migrate to the rest of the country. When it does, you will have a chance to suggest improvements.


California's new building energy efficiency standards - passed in 2013 - will take effect in July. When they do, they will usher in a new era, not just for builders, but for utilities as well.


Starting in July, California will require every new (and every retrofit!) system to be outfitted for automated demand response. It applies to building management systems, building automation systems, network lighting controllers, HVAC systems and even to new thermostats.