The Value of Early Engagement & Design Coordination

As California building code expands to mandate the inclusion of solar and storage in both multi-family and commercial/non-residential projects, many developers have learned the hard way that solar requires the same early engagement in the design phase as the other standard building design consultants. (e.g., Architects, Engineers, etc.)

The vast majority of solar is added to existing buildings that aren’t in constant, evolving design iteration. Developers need early, continuous engagement integrated with the design team to ensure that code compliance is being met, solar designs are adjusted in sync with the balance of plans, and budgets are updated accordingly. Band-aid solutions can be costly and have schedule impacts if this is not done.

Participation in weekly calls by a self-performing design-build contractor is critical to streamlining communications within the core project team. Design-only contracts are ideal for getting the early assistance you need and a permit-ready package while making a final bid on firm designs and providing your GC with all the needed flexibility on vendor scope split and selection. Selecting a solar contractor with design experience is critical to avoid common pitfalls and benefit from their attention to key coordination points.

We interviewed the in-house engineering team at Cal Solar Inc to obtain their insights into a sampling of mission-critical design coordination points from having participated in thousands of design coordination meetings.

California Title 24 Requirements
Code Cycle Requirement  
2019 Residential 3 habitable stories and below

  • Solar PV system must be sized to offset tenant electricity meters
2022 Residential 3 habitable stories and below

  • Solar PV systems must be sized to offset tenant electricity meters
  • Must also be ‘battery ready’ by installing either a subpanel or split-bus main panel with four backed-up circuits to facilitate future storage installations

New non-residential projects (which includes projects that have 4 or more habitable stories):

  • Must offset 60% of the building’s energy loads with solar PV and install a battery storage system to support load shifting. 

The updated 2022 Title 24 code will go into effect on January 1st, 2023, and includes new mandates for solar and energy storage on new construction projects in California.  

 

From maintaining original roof warranties to coordinating roof blocking with framers and rough-in conduit with electricians, the need and value for early engagement are high and continue right into construction.  

Contact us today to learn how we can support your projects through our design services!

310-362-2042

 

About Cal Solar:

Cal Solar Inc. is California’s largest self-perform solar engineering and construction company dedicated to delivering renewable energy solutions for existing buildings and new construction projects. We self-perform all project phases from evaluation through maintenance and operation. Our experienced team of designers, engineers, and installers is equipped to design-build solar PV, thermal, energy storage, and EV charging solutions of any size. We offer both design-only and design-build solutions.

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New Construction

Our team of in-house engineers is instrumental in new construction projects, as they have deep experience in the design process and know how to build for and coordinate effectively with architects and other members of the building design team. We understand what it takes to get your project from the planning phase to occupancy permits…

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Building Retrofit

You can significantly cut site energy costs -- and even boost revenue -- by retrofitting your building with new energy systems. Why Retrofit Your Building With Renewable Energy Solutions? Over 75% of California’s existing homes and commercial buildings were built prior to the development of the 1978 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. These outdated structures offer…

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