2016 Energy Code Changes: Hot Water Requirements

Hot Water Requirements The 2016 energy code calls for a significantly higher standard of compliance than the 2013 energy code did, and it affects a number of different areas of new homes. Once implemented, the state expects that homes would see a 28 percent savings in energy costs versus a home constructed using the 2013 code requirements. One of the changes to the code in 2017 deals directly with the hot water requirements of new homes and renovations. These new standards have been put into place in regards to water heaters and plumbing, according to Energy Code Ace, a program of the California Public Utilities Commission, which outlines these changes in a recent fact sheet.

These new measures are designed to provide homes with the hot water they need without wasting large amounts of energy in the process. There are three prescriptive package options that can now be used to deliver hot water to homes with new minimum energy factors that must be followed. Gas or propane tankless hot water heaters can be used as long as they have a minimum energy factor of 0.82. Gas or propane tank water heaters with a capacity of less than 55 gallons can also be used, though they must have an energy factor of 0.60 or better and the home must undergo a HERS Quality Insulation Installation (QII) verification and have either a HERS-verified compact hot water distribution system or HERS verified DHW pipe insulation.

The final option is for a gas or propane tanked hot water heater that holds more than 55 gallons. These units can be used if it has a minimum energy factor of 0.76. These systems also must include a HERS-verified compact hot water distribution system or DHW pipe insulation.

When the home is complying by using the performance method of compliance the water heater prescriptive requirements may be traded off by using other high efficacy building envelope features or HVAC systems. Performance analysis is the most common method of building energy compliance and is very effective at allowing you to have a custom home that is energy efficient and that meets your design parameters. Rick’s Energy Solutions has energy analysts that are certified by the California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC) to perform energy analysis.

There are several others factors to keep in mind with regards to hot water requirements under the 2016 energy code. Instantaneous water heaters that have an input rating or 6.8k BTU/hour (2 kilowatt) or greater must have an isolation valve installed on both the cold water supply and the hot water leaving the water heater. Each valve on these water heaters also needs either a hose bib or another fitting that will allow for flushing to occur when these valves are closed. Lastly, when replacing a water heater under the new energy code, you must also install piping insulation.

Rick’s Energy Solution specializes in helping homeowners become greener by offering ­ Green Building Design & Consulting Services for projects located anywhere in California. Call us at 707-578-5380 today if you are interested in finding out more about the 2016 energy code and to learn how our green home services can help you.