SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The cost of building a new home in California is expected to go up under tighter energy efficiency rules that follow in the state's long tradition of aggressive environmental standards, including a requirement that all new homes have roofs equipped for solar panels.
The California Energy Commission said the rules it approved unanimously Thursday will raise the average cost of a new home by nearly $2,300. At the same time, the more efficient homes will save owners thousands more in energy costs, as well as add to the value of their homes, the commission said.
The energy-efficiency standards also will apply to new commercial building construction.
The cost increase for homes likely will vary depending on the climate of the part of the state where the residence is built.
Under the new rules, homes in hotter regions will face stricter requirements, since they use more energy due to higher air-conditioning use, Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas said. But she said the new energy-efficient additions, such as whole-house fans, also will lead to greater savings.
"Every measure has to be cost-effective," Douglas said.
Requirements that apply to all new homes statewide include insulated hot-water pipes and roofs equipped for solar panels. Other new standards include windows that allow increased sunlight while decreasing heat gain, as well as independent air-conditioning installation inspections to confirm efficiency.