The California Energy Commission passed new building clean energy standards that will affect new commercial and high-rise buildings starting Jan. 1, 2023.

The new standards incorporate mandatory inclusion of battery storage-ready solar power in new CRE construction. They also will include an “energy budget” to regulate the amount of hydrocarbon use to encourage builders to incorporate heat pumps instead of gas-fueled HVAC.

The standards need ratification by the state’s Building Standards Commission in Dec. 2021, which virtually “always approves these energy changes,” Jorge Medina, co-head of Pillsbury’s Renewable Energy practice, told GlobeSt.

Although “it should have a positive impact, it’s hard to say the magnitude,” Medina added. In 2018, California passed standards for home builders, which were to go into effect in 2020. The pandemic played havoc with the plans and many projects were grandfathered in, so there’s been a lack of data to see financial impacts.

“The idea that it has to be built so it’s battery ready is useful,” Medina said. Rather than having to retrofit construction, inclusion of additional wiring at the onset can be significantly less expensive. 

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