California Spurs Building Automation with Building Code Requirements

Energy Efficiency

California Spurs Building Automation with Building Code Requirements

Gita Subramony for Zondits, April 18, 2014

Zondits previously reported on the usage of advanced thermostats in the non-residential sector for energy savings, HVAC performance management, and operation as a light building management system. A recent change in California’s building code now has the potential to spur usage of not only advanced thermostats but other building automation technologies in both the residential and commercial sectors.

As part of Title 24, California’s building code, the state will begin requiring thermostats, HVAC systems, lighting controls, and building automation systems to be able to communicate with the grid for demand response purposes. Devices will be required to use OpenADR or ZigBee-based protocols to receive and respond to utility messages. Although the requirement is mainly oriented toward demand response, it has the potential to spur growth in the building automation sector.

Many controls and demand response companies have already adopted OpenADR for their products; these companies include giants such as Honeywell, Schneider Electric, and EnerNOC. Other companies will also benefit from the Title 24 requirements, especially makers of smart hubs and gateways that control HVAC, lighting, smart appliances, and other systems. These systems will not only be able to communicate with the grid for demand response purposes, but they can independently serve as light building management systems and also as a means for collecting and analyzing building performance data.

GreenTech Media provides a great summary of the new requirement and its implications.