Dazed & Confused - Page 4

Inflamed Eichler owners and remodeling pros alike facing a quagmire over California’s Title 24 building regulations
Dazed and Confused
Above: Fiberglass-insulation batts being installed inside an interior wall.
Dazed and Confused
The 2016 Residential Compliance Manual: a source of project-qualifying information for homeowners.

Walls a focus for 2020

Rules for better-insulated walls are anticipated to be part of Title 24's 2020 Building Efficiency Standard to improve comfort and energy savings. The goal of this move is to keep the heat out during the summer and warm air in during the winter, thus making a home more resilient to climate change.

The efficiency of these walls are measured in U-values (sometimes referred to as heat transfer coefficients), which measure how effective they are at preventing heat from transmitting between the inside and the outside of the home.

For wall insulation, standard fiberglass-insulation batts can practically be added when replacing exterior siding. If exterior walls are going to remain shut, however, 'blown' (spray foam) insulation on the inside remains an option once the interior paneling is removed.

Heating and cooling

If a home's heating and cooling system is left unchanged as part of an addition or alteration, then compliance with the requirements for altered HVAC systems may not be necessary.

Thankfully, extension of a duct is not considered a change to the existing heating and cooling equipment. However, new ducts must meet mandatory requirements, and any changes can certainly impact aesthetics, both on the roof and inside the house, depending on the kind of system installed.

For this reason, it is important that HVAC issues be addressed when your roof and other building envelope projects are being considered.

Rooftop solar demands

Starting in 2020, Title 24 will require virtually all new homes in California to incorporate rooftop solar. However, the accompanying Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is expected to continue to be available to all homeowners, allowing them to claim a credit for 30 percent of all costs related to their solar panel installation. This includes costs such as roof repairs, prep work, supplies, and labor costs.

Jarom Feriante of Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center, based in Menlo Park, encourages Eichler owners to consider a foam roof when in the market for a rooftop solar-panel array.

"Pulling down [temporarily removing] a solar power system to allow for roof replacement costs at least one dollar per watt. For example, removing a 7,500-watt solar-power system, and then re-installing it again to allow roof replacement, would cost around $7,500 dollars. To be cost efficient, you really need a roof system under your solar panels that will last a minimum of 30 years."

One of the pros of solar power is that homeowners can point the solar panels in any direction for power generation. While some panel installations can be eyesores on a roof if they are not laid flat and out of view, today's solar-panel systems can be installed horizontal on a flat roof and still create as much as 85 percent efficiency, Klopf points out.

Overall, Title 24 isn't going away, so what's a homeowner to do? Palo Alto Glass' Dave Stellman suggests that Eichler owners should talk with their city building officials to encourage them to look more closely at the special home-improvement challenges that affect the Eichler home's design aesthetic.

"We can't continue to put Eichlers under the same code as conventional homes," Stellman says.

What's more, he adds, "A lot of customers get mad, and they get mad at us. We were trying to tell them, don't get mad at us—get mad at your city."


Photography: Sabrina Huang, David Toerge, Jonathan Braun; and courtesy Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center, Milgard Windows & Doors



Klopf Architecture
John Klopf

Palo Alto Glass
Dave Stellman, Kim Denton

Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center
Jarom Feriante

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