Architects: When Should You Incorporate an Energy Planning Consultant?


Designing buildings to meet California’s stringent energy regulations can be difficult and time consuming. The bar continues to be raised, creating new elements that must be incorporated into the design process. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort to prepare architectural drawings that meet all applicable building code requirements.

While your first instinct may be to save money by going through the code compliance part of your design project on your own, the DIY route often ends up costing more time, effort and money than if you engaged an energy consultant from the very outset of the design phase.

Energy consultants benefit architects and architecture firms in a variety of ways, and engaging one early on in the process may be one of the best strategic partnerships you make.

Below are a few reasons why retaining an energy consultant for your practice is a smart choice.

1. It saves you money

Building Departments are required to enforce California’s Title 24 Building Energy Standards. As part of the permit process for new buildings and additions, calculations must be submitted showing that the proposed structure meets a minimum level of energy efficiency.

Code violations can greatly impact your project financially. If you are able to work with a code compliance consultant before submitting a project it can potentially eliminate the need to correct errors, saving you a lot of money.  


2. It helps maintain your timeline

It’s best to partner with a code compliance consultant from the very beginning of your project if you want to maintain your timeline. Compliance consultants will work with you during the design phase to advise and correct any issues before you submit your architectural drawings. If you don’t hire a consultant until after a problem occurs, the longer it will take to fix the issues.

 3. It informs design decisions

It is a little known fact, but you can use an energy model to demonstrate energy code compliance and save thousands of dollars for your project. Unfortunately, all too frequently, modeling is only used late in design, when it has little value.

If you’re not using modeling to make design decisions from the outset, not only are you missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy savings, you’re also wasting the thousands of dollars that go into the model, as well as first cost savings.


4. It gets you up to code compliance

Expert energy consultants are able to advise you on the many aspects of energy compliance and legislation that apply to your project, keeping costs low and giving owners peace of mind that the building systems will perform as designed. 

On the other hand, consultants can stop a building code violation before it starts by addressing potential issues before permitting begins.

In closing

The construction process is difficult; don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Without the burden of code compliance, you can focus on more important issues.

E3 has experience with building code compliance measurements, analysis, and documentation for California’s energy and green building codes and standards.

Are you ready to take a smart approach to your energy planning and reduce your energy costs? Give us call!


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