Energy Efficiency (cont.)
2019 California Energy Code
In many respects, the California Energy Code (CEC), and its supplementary manuals and appendices, are more advanced in treatment of material performance than the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) used in other states. Concrete masonry in particular is well represented in the CEC, and its inherent benefits for energy design are demonstrated in the code's prescriptive requirements.
The CEC has mandatory provisions, and two optional paths to compliance:
Performance approach, where approved compliance software calculates the energy budgets for both the baseline standard design building and the proposed design building.
Prescriptive approach, where the provisions of CEC Section 140.2 must be met for the project's climate zone.
The performance approach is by far the most utilized in California as it offers greater flexibility in design, more accurately accounts for systems (including concrete masonry walls), and maximizes potential credits for green rating systems such as LEED®. The prescriptive requirements are very conservative and come into play in establishing the baseline.
The code references below are from mandatory and prescriptive sections of the CEC. Again, though prescriptive requirements are typically used for a design baseline as part of the performance approach, they are useful in demonstrating the energy effectiveness of concrete masonry. In particular, the high R-values in mandatory and prescriptive requirements for framed walls do NOT correlate to concrete masonry, which is a heavy mass wall. Unlike framed walls, concrete masonry has no mandatory insulation requirement; the CEC recognizes the substantial benefit in heavy mass walls.