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Building code to up green home cost efficiency

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Construction costs homeowners in San Diego must pay to install solar panels or electric vehicle charging stations at their homes are hot holing steady. The county is planning to add green building requirements that save homeowners from paying higher costs for future retrofits.

Earlier in August, the Board of Supervisors voted to request the Chief Administrative Officer put in the supervisors' hands the additions to the COunty Building Code that would build up the county's green energy programs.

On July 1st, California's home builders started work on building green homes using new California Energy Efficiency Standards set to increase energy efficiency 25 percent above the efficiency required in 2008. The additional green work, during new home construction, costs above 2,000 dollars. But, the California Energy Commission says, lowered energy costs running the more efficient home systems save homeowners the same amount in the first 18 months.

Changes to the county's building code the county board began work on in April would add additional homeowner savings in the cost of building over the long term.

Homeowners would have four cost saving options. Install a 200 amp electrical panel for the home green energy system at 75 dollars in additional cost. A panel sized to fit future electrical system hookups for a photovoltaic system and an electric vehicle charging station. Additionas that cost above 400 dollars to retrofit to an electrical panel. Two California cities, Santa Monica and San Jose, already require new homeowners to use larger electrical panels.

Install a conduit to make a home fit to install, and wire, green energy systems inthe future. A rooftop solar panel conduit that runs from the electrical panel to a nearby juncton box, and, through the walls, to the attic. At a 125 dollar upfront cosst. Or, a conduit that runs to a junction box and through the walls to a garage hookup for an electric vehicle charger. Hookup work that costs a homeowner 75 dollars upfront.

San Diego county would be the first municipality in California to require the conduits.

The last option. Keep 200 total square feet open for a solar system installation, rooftop photovoltaic or water heating, on the house rooftop's south face. Space that is "optimal" for a solar installation. No obstructions to installation. Vents. Chimneys. Equipment. Or, parts of the housetop architecture. In a place the housetop doe snot shade the roof space.

Saving the room for future installations adds 50 dollars to a homeowner's upfront costs for green construction.

California already requires green developer sin the non-residential and 10 plus tract single home markets to save room for solar installations on the rooftops.

This is a Center Line Policy Alert.

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