Calpers HQ - Sacramento CA

Go Green or Go Home

Go Green or Go Home!   Being from California, going Green is not longer optional. From 1978 for residential – and 1980 for non-residential – the EPA has gradually accelerated the energy regulations around new construction. These regulations are Title 24. The Code for all the regulations is Title 24 http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/

The original intent of Title 24 was to conserve energy, but not to save money. As the years have gone by, the Code has evolved to dramatically increase the cost of construction. Why does California need Standards? Energy savings comes to mind, and for commercial buildings (office, industrial, tech etc,) the two biggest components for energy consumption (potential savings) are HVAC and Lighting.

Many of the regulations, while innovative, may not pencil for developers. And when things don’t pencil either rents go up or things don’t get built.   For example when planning a tenant space, Title 24 calls for “Light Harvesting” which mandates that all lighting is calibrated to turn off when no one is in a portion of the space. Take it a step further, you have to consider the orbit of the earth; based on the position of the sun (consider the afternoon sun shining on your windows) HVAC and lighting can be adjusted to turn off or throttle down.

You may remember the 2000/2001 energy crisis in California. Since then, the Energy Commission has placed more emphasis on energy consumption. Building components that Title 24 covers is all encompassing – from the envelop – to the guts of the building. The other goals for Title 24 are:

  • Comfort- Efficient buildings are more comfortable for the occupants and the delivery of light, heating and cooling is much more consistent throughout your premises.
  • Economics- In the early years much of Title 24 was a nuisance and big energy saving improvements didn’t really pencil. That has changed dramatically as technology, particularly in Solar, has improved.
  • The Environment
  • Curtailment of greenhouse gases

Many tenants considering new locations will give environmentally friendly, energy efficient buildings “points” in their property selection matrix.  It just feels good, and potential employees and clients take notice.

If you are a tenant looking at moving into a new location that needs significant Tenant Improvements within previously occupied space be aware: If the building you are looking at is older, it is possible that it may not be in compliance with current ADA or Energy codes. So, when the Landlord goes to pull a permit for the construction of the tenant improvements, the City Planning Department could require the Landlord to comply. This can be costly since it adds to the scope of work. Sometimes, as much as a Landlord wants a new tenant, the Landlord may decide to pass on a tenant that requires significant tenant improvements. They will just wait for a tenant that doesn’t need tenant improvements. So, it is better to figure this out in the initial stages of a negotiation rather than waiting until you are about to sign a lease.

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