We are experts on the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 6). For more than 30 years, Benningfield Group, Inc. staff have been providing the building community, the California Energy Commission, utilities, local government and other agencies with technical assistance in development of the standards, evaluation of compliance options, efficiency program analysis and compliance improvement. California’s Standards are the most stringent and complex in the world. We’ve developed systems, advocated processes and created tools to help understand and apply the code in a way that makes the process more straightforward, the building more efficient, the systems more cost effective and the occupants more comfortable.
Energy Codes and Standards
Advanced Rater Training
At the center of one of the most rapidly growing energy efficiency markets in the nation, Southern California's home energy ratings industry relies on an especially well-trained community of building and energy professionals. To help them stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards and technologies, California's Advanced Rater Training program offers energy professionals in-depth continuing education opportunities that equip them to better implement energy efficiency programs and drive code compliance.
Offered both in-person and online, the classes give HERS raters, energy analysts and other residential construction professionals the tools they need to overcome a variety of technical and administrative challenges on the road to maximizing energy savings in their projects.
Our talented and experienced training staff covered a myriad of topics, from new technology, codes and installation techniques to design approaches that ensure buildings and features are consistently modeled, installed and verified. Working in conjunction with Wollin Group, Inc., Benningfield Group staff delivered the following training sessions in the Southern California Gas Co. territory:
- Quality Insulation Installation.
- Airflow Diagnostics.
- Residential Ventilation.
- Residential Air Sealing.
- Building Pressure.
- Measurement and Diagnostics.
- EPA 608 Study Sessions.
- ACCA Manual J/S/D HVAC Design.
- Refrigerant Charge Verification Protocols.
- Window Performance Essentials.
Multifamily and Residential Title 24 Guides
Having an easy-to-follow compliance manual is key to helping contractors achieve compliance with California's energy codes. However, many have found California's Title 24, Part 6 building energy efficiency code and compliance manuals to be restrictively complex. In an effort to improve compliance, the Statewide Codes & Standards Team has enlisted the help of a team of industry experts to create a more user-friendly set of guides.
Benningfield Group is working as a subcontractor to Noresco, alongside the Energy Code Ace team, California Lighting Technology Center and CEC Standards Implementation Office to create two of eight Compliance Guides that will help design professionals better understand the 2016 Standards. The Multifamily and Residential Title 24 Guides outline the benefits of code compliance, the compliance process, recent code updates, compliance requirements, compliant products and systems, and strategies and scenarios to put those concepts into practice.
At Benningfield Group, we are creating and reviewing technical content for the residential mechanical and water heating guide, as well as the multifamily guide. We are also creating case study projects that highlight important features and construction techniques relevant to high rise and low rise multifamily design. These studies will be included in the Application Guides to illustrate the appropriate application of code to specific building types.
The guides will be completed in 2016. Once published, the Application Guides will serve as resources for implementation of the 2016 Standards, will complement the existing Compliance Manuals and will also serve to inform a possible revision of the 2019 Compliance Manuals.
Certified Energy Analyst
The Certified Energy Analyst (CEA) program helps drive overall compliance with California's Energy Code. CEA certification signifies that a consultant has the knowledge necessary to accurately apply the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards, and the commitment to providing quality service to their clients. With these points of emphasis, the CEA program has served as both an educational pathway and an incentive for energy analysts to improve their skills and knowledge of California's energy code.
The backbone of this program is a set of technically challenging certification exams, which are created and maintained by a large team of subject matter experts. As project managers, we at the Benningfield Group lead this team's efforts, overseeing the process from design and implementation to maintenance.
To create defensible exams, we first consulted with educational designers, psychometricians, subject matter experts and the trade association for California's Energy Consultants, CABEC. After developing the exam process, we built a pool of multiple choice and first of its kind modeling exam questions that we extensively tested for performance and technical accuracy. After development and testing, the team then worked through a rigorous process to arrive at a reasonable pass/fail cut score.
We also coordinate test administration, which includes everything from selecting test sites to analyzing exam results as well as monitoring overall exam and individual item performance, maintaining and updating items as necessary. These efforts have also been supported by our software team, who built an online exam portal and repository where candidates can upload files for grading and review and an online item repository that is used to track the history and ownership of each exam question.
The results of this program have a far reach. By improving the skills, knowledge and competency of participating energy analysts, their building models and compliance documentation will likely become more consistent, clear and accurate. As a result, the design community will be more likely to understand code requirements, empowering them to design buildings that meet and exceed code. With fewer mistakes to correct, code enforcers will be able to focus on key inspection components, bringing the entire region closer to full overall compliance.
SCE Compliance Improvement: Compliance Improvement Advisory Group
Benningfield Group facilitates the Compliance Improvement Advisory Group which meets in person quarterly. The mission statement of the group is as follows: “Compliance with the California Building Standards requires a complex set of interactions between a wide variety of industries and professions. A major step forward in improving compliance involves a forum for relevant spokes in the compliance wheel to cooperatively explore potential solutions to today’s significant compliance issues, including what training is needed, how to best meet those training needs, and recognizing when training is not the best or sole solution. The Compliance Improvement Advisory Group can make a major contribution to identifying potential solutions to problems, and do so in a way that does not just shift the problem to another industry.”