Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 12:01 am | Mostly Cloudy 59º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Goleta City Council Adopts Higher Energy-Efficiency Building Standards

New regulations apply to new construction and additions to existing structures over a certain size

The Goleta City Council, minus an absent Mayor Eric Onnen, voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an ordinance establishing local building standards for energy efficiency in accordance with statewide plans for long-term energy efficiency.

The move was hailed by some for its efforts toward energy sustainability, and decried by others for adding even more stringent standards for homebuilders.

Adoption of the ordinance is the result of efforts alongside Southern California Edison to develop and adopt a “reach code,” energy efficiency standards that exceed the existing Title 24 California Building Standards Code minimums. Title 24 standards are updated periodically.

The ordinance puts forth energy efficiency standards for new building construction and additions to existing buildings over a certain size, and improvements such as lighting and new heaters or circulation pumps for pools, spas and water features.

New residential buildings are required to exceed Title 24 standards by 15 percent in energy efficiency. Additions to residential buildings greater than 500 square feet generally are also required to exceed Title 24 by 15 percent.

New nonresidential buildings must demonstrate that they can exceed Title 24 by 10 percent to 15 percent, depending on the approach used to analyze compliance, and additions to nonresidential buildings are required to demonstrate the same.

According to the staff report, compliance with the ordinance also will have the effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a desired result under Assembly Bill 32.

Many in the room for Tuesday’s meeting were supportive of the council’s push for higher energy efficiency standards. But Jerry Bunin, representing the Home Builders Association, said he counted himself “in the dark side” on the matter.

“We support green building, and we support energy efficiency, but we don’t think an ordinance like this is remotely necessary or productive,” he said, adding that any effort to exceed Title 24 should be voluntary and focused on existing building stock — which, he said, is where most greenhouse gas emissions come from.

Bunin found himself in the minority, however, as the City Council voiced its support of the new ordinance, with Mayor Pro-Tem Margaret Connell noting that home additions will trigger the need for compliance, and Councilman Roger Aceves stating that homebuyers will be looking for the improved energy efficiency. Councilman Michael Bennett said that planning ahead for energy efficiency retrofits would be the less expensive option overall, over making changes on the fly.

Earlier in the evening, the council also took up routine adoption of adjustments and revisions to local building codes. Some adjustments were designed to take into account changes in international standards, while other elements, such as the recent state-adopted CalGreen building code, was incorporated into local building regulations.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >