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California approves new energy efficiency rules for homes, businesses starting in 2014

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POSTED May 31, 2012 8:58 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials on Thursday approved energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings that officials are describing as the toughest in the nation.

Members of the California Energy Commission voted unanimously in favor of amended standards that will require improved windows, more efficient air conditioning and lighting systems, and other features intended to reduce energy consumption.

The new requirements, set to go into effect in 2014, will reduce energy use in California homes and businesses by 25 percent or more, commission officials said.

For new homes, solar-ready roofs that will allow for the installation of solar panels, and windows that allow increased sunlight while decreasing heat gain will be required. Hot water pipe insulation and independent air conditioning inspections are also part of the new standards.

Commercial buildings will also be required to have solar-ready roofs, as well as so-called high-performance windows and lights controlled by sensors.

Supermarkets, computer data centers and other businesses will also be required to have more energy-efficient equipment.

"These standards are the strongest in the nation ... giving us the most efficient buildings in the nation," Commissioner Karen Douglas told the Bee.

Energy efficiency standards approved by the commission have saved Californians more than $66 billion in electricity and natural gas costs since 1978, according to commission officials.

 

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