We have been preparing for the implementation of the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards since they were announced. We applaud the Energy Commission for their efforts to improve efficiency and increase environmental sustainability.

Much of the press and industry have been talking about reflective surface roofs for the past several years, and while we’ve already seen how that type of application may increase the life of a roof by reducing the heat load and lowering UV degradation, we believe that insulation is potentially going to be a much bigger factor moving forward.

The latest regulations state that R-7 insulation must be present in a building’s conditioned space. If R-7 is not present, then any new roof system installation must include R8 or R14 (depending on the location’s climate zone) insulation.

This addition to the code came about because the Energy Commission discovered that installation of a white roof was not enough to boost energy savings and that it was difficult to quantify the level of savings. However, installing new insulation benefits both the heating and cooling of a building and provides an energy benefit on a 24-hour per day, 365-day per year basis.

One of the ways that building owners can mitigate this impending expense, especially if they have a vacant building, is to do a proactive insulation inspection. If the interior insulation is not up to the specified requirements, we recommend doing that now by installing the required R-7 insulation below the deck. It is potentially more cost effective to add insulation to conditioned spaces below the deck in a vacant space than it may be to add insulation below a new roof membrane.

Also, the insulation added below the deck will last more than one roof cycle (which the insulation below a roof system may not depending on how well the roof is maintained during its service life), providing a lower cost per unit over its life cycle. If it is not possible to add insulation below the deck because the space is occupied, it may be possible to get an exemption due to the need to lift mechanical equipment during a reroofing application.

Each building needs to be studied independently to determine whether or not insulation will need to be added if and when the roof is replaced. Staying ahead of the curve always makes it easier to plan and budget in advance for whatever may be in store for a particular building. Our experience shows that owners and asset managers are never fond of expensive “surprises.”

Also, building owners should go through their vacant buildings to check on the status of their lighting fixtures. By updating any old fixtures and installing energy efficient bulbs, owners may earn lighting credits.

Obviously, this has the potential to be costly for building owners, but it also offers an opportunity to use Title 24 compliance and the Green badge as a marketing tool to attract tenants who are trying to be “Green Businesses.”

Please contact us  to discuss how these new changes may affect your portfolio.