2012 Interior Design Legislation

CAL Green  Standards Codes: 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)

Ventilation Fan Efficiency

When installed to function as a whole-house ventilation system, the IECC specifies that mechanical fans meet the following requirements.

  • Range Hoods and In-Line fans: 2.8 cfm/watt
  • Bathroom ( 10-90cfm): 1.4 cfm/watt.
  • Bathroom (>90cfm): 2.8 cfm/watt

The 2012 IECC now places upper limits on the energy requirements for these fans where there were no such limits in the 2009 IECC., this change is expected to improve the overall efficiency 


Wall Insulation When Structural Sheathing is Used

The 2012 IECC states: “First value is cavity insulation, second is continuous insulation, so “13+5” mean R-13 cavity insulation plus R-5 continuous insulation. If structural sheathing covers 40 percent or less of the exterior, continuous insulation R value shall be permitted to be reduced by no more than R-3 in the locations where structural sheathing is used – to maintain a consistent total sheathing thickness.


Air Duct System

Section R 403.2.2 reduces maximum allowable levels of duck leakage in the distribution system compared to the 2009 IECC (from 12 cfm per 100ft 2 of conditioned floor area to 4CFM/100FT 2 for tests done on completed buildings, and from 6 to 4cfm per 100ft 2 for tests done at the rough-in stage of construction).

Hot Water Pipe Insulation and Length Requirements

New specifications for non-circulating service hot water distribution systems that should reduce energy losses from “stranded” hot water and conduction of heat out of the pipes. The 2012 IECC specifies that all such pipes to be insulated unless they have sufficiently low volume as defined by a combination of their length (measured from the tank or distribution manifold to the point of use) and diameter. This change is expected to reduce the amount of hot water that cools off in the pipes and is thus wasted as users wait for sufficiently warm water to reach the fixture. Also, for circulating hot water system, the required insulation has been increased from R-2 to R-3 and therefore should increase efficiency.


2011 Interior Design Legislation


The CA state goal is for all homes built after January 1, 2020 is to be NZE (Net Zero Energy). In less than 8 years the building and energy codes will be transformed to achieve this legislative Goal. This Goal will affect all of us involved in the Interior Design Industry.

The following Bills were passed this year to accomplish this goal;

  • AB 758  –  Greater Energy Efficiency for existing residential and non-residential buildings. 
  • AB 32  –  Codified the 2020 GHG (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) emission reductions targeted into law.
  • AB 1109  – Established minimum energy efficiency standards for all general purpose lighting.
  • AB 1560  –  Requires the CEC to provide regulation for water efficiency in new RES & COMM  Buildings. 

Establish the goal that new building standards achieve NZE by 2020 for residences & 2030 for commercial.The CEC (California Energy Commission) is currently upgrading the 2008 Energy Standards to align with the 2013 triennial Code adoption process. The 2013 Energy Standards will be 30% from the NZE goal. Using the CALGreen Standards local jurisdictions have the ability to adopt the TIER 1 & TIER 2 codes in order to reach these goals.

TIER 1 is 15% more efficient than the 2008 Energy Standard & the TIER 2 is 30% more efficient.

Design teams, in the next 8 years, will need to develop & integrate all the systems & components of a house in order to meet State goals: Super insulate & airtight, Use of none energy systems to provide heating & cooling, High performance windows & doors, Develop energy modeling software to determine NZE achievability.

IDCC (Interior Design Coalition of CA) has announced that they are planning on introducing a Bill next year that will impact all Interior Designers in the state of CA. We will keep a close watch on this legislation and will keep you up to date with the impact that it will have on your business.

2010 Interior Design Legislation

The following states have been affected by some form of restrictive Interior Design Legislation, this year: Washington, Florida, Virginia, Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

California Adopts New Green Building Code 

January 12, 2010 - The California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) requiring all new buildings in the state be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. CALGREEN will require that every new building constructed in California reduce water consumption by 20 percent, divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills and install low pollutant-emitting materials. It also requires separate water meters for nonresidential buildings’ indoor and outdoor water use, with a requirement for moisture-sensing irrigation systems for larger landscape projects and mandatory inspections of energy systems (e.g., heat furnace, air conditioner and mechanical equipment) for nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet to ensure that all are working at their maximum capacity and according to their design efficiencies. The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) by 3 million metric tons equivalent in 2020.

California EPA Regulations:

Changes Made in Lead Paint Renovation Rules 

The EPA has adopted a number of amendments to the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules (RRP) of which members should be familiar.

As anticipated, the opt-out provision in the rule, which allowed owners to waive the requirements for lead paint remediation has been eliminated. Accordingly, all pre-1978 housing must now be renovated by following the RRP Rules. In addition, the EPA has modified the record-keeping requirements so that contractors must now give copies of the records documenting compliance with the rules to the owner or occupant within 30 days after final invoice or completion of the project. These changes take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Lastly, the EPA has published notice of two new regulations under consideration. The first would require dust-wipe testing after most renovations and results evidencing lead levels below regulatory hazard standards be furnished to the owner or occupant. The second proposed rule is to extend required lead-safe work practices to renovations on all commercial and public buildings. 

For additional information about these and other rule changes, visit the EPA's website

Lead in Plumbing

SB 1334 and SB 1395 to ensure water used for cooking and drinking is free from lead transferred from pipes, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.

Senate Bill 1334, Calderon. Drinking water: pipes and fittings: lead content

Requires all pipes, plumbing fitting or fixtures, or flux to be certified by an independent American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited third party for compliance with lead standards. Requires the certification to include testing materials in accordance with DTSC protocols for implementing the lead standards compliance testing and evaluation program outlined in SB 1395 (see next item).


Senate Bill 1395, Corbett. Lead plumbing: monitoring and compliance testing. Allows DTSC to annually select up to 75 drinking water plumbing fittings and fixtures for testing to determine compliance with the lead plumbing provisions in SB 1334. DTSC is required to post the findings on its Web site and to provide a report to the California Department of Public Health.


Lead in Lighting

Assembly Bill 1109, Huffman. Reduces certain toxic materials, such as mercury and lead, in lighting products. Energy resources: lighting efficiency: hazardous waste; the California Lighting Efficiency and Toxics Reduction Act.

Requires lighting manufacturers to provide certifications to retailers that their products do not exceed European Union limits for cadmium, lead, mercury, or hexavalent chromium. Under the measure, manufacturers may list the certification on packaging.


Title-24 Energy Code Summary of Changes-Effective 1-1-10 

Changes to the residential standards:The U-factor and SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) requirements have been increased. The base-line, standard window required for compliance with most prescriptive packages is dual pane/vinyl window with Low-E, spectrally selective coating. Standard dual pane/metal framing windows even with a thermally broken gasket isolating the glazing from the framing will not comply with the new standards.

The new Title-24 residential lighting requirements divide the home into three distinct zones that are treated very differently. The first zone is the kitchen. The kitchen lighting requirements retain the same compliance formula as in the 2005 standards known as the 50% rule. 50% of the total kitchen lighting watts must be high efficacy (compact fluorescent, LED, Linear fluorescent). The balance of the kitchen lighting can be low-efficacy. However there is now a new provision for lighting that is internal to the cabinets for illuminating the inside of the cabinet up to 20 watts of low or high efficacy lighting power per linear foot of illuminated cabinet. These fixtures internal to the cabinets can be low efficacy if desired with no penalty.

The second zone includes all the bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, and utility rooms which must have either high efficacy fixtures or they must have vacancy sensors installed that control the low efficacy fixtures. Note that these must be vacancy sensors, not occupancy sensors. A vacancy sensor is a variation of an occupancy sensor however instead of automatically turning on with someone enters a room you must manually operate the switch to turn the lights on. Then after you leave the room the sensor detects that the room is vacant and will automatically turn the lights off. The logic behind this manual-on function is that often you may want to quickly enter into a bathroom that is well-lit during the daytime to simply wash your hands or retrieve some toiletries and not need to turn on the lights at all, thus saving energy. If you need the light switched on then you have that option but the sensor won’t turn them on for you but will turn them off automatically after you leave.

The third zone includes all the hallways, dining rooms, family rooms, home office, and bedrooms. These rooms have the most lenient requirements as they must have either high efficacy lighting or low efficacy fixtures controlled by a vacancy sensor or be controlled by a dimmer. The dimmer option allows the most cost effective way to comply while providing the most flexibility and options in allowable fixtures.

New indoor ventilation requirements mandate that all low-rise residential buildings must have a whole house ventilation system that provides a calculated minimum amount of outdoor air by using either a continuously running bathroom fan or a supply or return air ventilation thru a central HVAC system. The minimum ventilation volume must be a minimum of 1 cfm for each 100 sq. ft. of floor area plus 7.5 cfm for each occupant. The number of occupants is determined by multiplying the number of bedrooms and then adding one. For example a 3 bedroom, 1,800 square foot townhouse would require 48 cfm of continuous ventilation.

New HVAC systems must prescriptively comply with new refrigerant charge, proper airflow, and fan watt draw verification inspections performed by certified HERS raters. Duct testing is another HERS verification inspection that was an optional compliance credit in the 2005 standards but now is a standard prescriptive requirement in the 2008 standards. In addition for the first time the new standards will track the time of energy use in the compliance algorithms. A home that experiences its greatest energy use and solar load during peak electrical cost periods will be severely penalized in the new energy code and find it very difficult to comply. Homes that are use strategies to shift energy use to off-peak hours will realize large credits in the compliance calculations that can be used to offset other design priorities such as larger windows or a challenging on-site building orientation.

New HERS measures have been introduced requiring third-party, independent verification such as airtight air handler boxes, high efficient furnace fans, refrigerant charge indicator displays (CID) and correctly sizing the air conditioner, all new for 2008. These HERS measures are Title-24 credits that can be traded-off for other more flexibility in other areas of the home or can also be used to bring the project into compliance with state and utility incentive programs that provide financial rewards for exceeding the basic Title-24 requirements.

For the first time Title-24 compliance documentation must be electronically uploaded to a database registry which can be accessed by building department officials to verify compliance. This will begin in August for tract homes required multiple orientation submittal and HERS measures but will expand to all projects requiring HERS measures in October. Overall the new 2008 Title-24 Building Energy Standards are roughly 20% more restrictive than the previous 2005 standards they replace.

Bill Introduced To Limit Formaldehyde in Furniture

A bill has been introduced in the Senate to reduce indoor emissions of formaldehyde, a chemical used in adhesives found in domestic and imported composite wood products.  The standard for formaldehyde proposed in the bill would apply to particleboard, plywood and medium-density fiberboard, all commonly used materials in household furniture and could potentially cause a slight increase in furniture prices for consumers.  Under the proposed legislation, composite wood products sold in the U.S. would have to meet formaldehyde-emission standards of about 0.09 parts per million by January 2012, matching standards recently adopted by California.  

State Board of Equalization

New Registration Requirements for Qualified Purchasers to Report Use Tax

New legislation, Assembly Bill x4 18 (Stats. 2009, Ch. 16), added section 6225 of the Revenue and Taxation Code which requires a “qualified purchaser” to register with the Board of Equalization and report and pay use tax directly to the Board of Equalization.  Under this section, a “qualified purchaser” includes businesses with at least $100,000 in annual gross receipts from business operations.

If sales tax would apply when a particular item is purchased in California, use tax applies when a similar purchase is made from a retailer outside the state and no tax is charged.  Use tax is not a new tax.  It has been part of the Revenue and Taxation Code since the 1930’s.  Only the registration requirement is new under AB x4 18.

The Board of Equalization has drafted a special notice with information regarding the new use tax registration requirements for qualified purchasers. 

If you have any questions, please contact Taxpayer Information Section at 800-400-7115.

Bill Introduced To Limit Formaldehyde in Furniture

A bill has been introduced in the Senate to reduce indoor emissions of formaldehyde, a chemical used in adhesives found in domestic and imported composite wood products.  The standard for formaldehyde proposed in the bill would apply to particleboard, plywood and medium-density fiberboard, all commonly used materials in household furniture and could potentially cause a slight increase in furniture prices for consumers.  Under the proposed legislation, composite wood products sold in the U.S. would have to meet formaldehyde-emission standards of about 0.09 parts per million by January 2012, matching standards recently adopted by California.   

California Establishes Energy-Efficient Standard for Televisions

The California Energy Commission has adopted standards under which no TV with a screen size less than 58 inches may be sold in the state after 2011 unless it meets limits on energy consumption. The standard tightens further in 2013. (Larger screens were left for future examination.)  Sets sold in California under the standard would consume 33% less electricity in 2011 and 49% less in 2013 than the average set sold today, according to the commission. The standard replaces a rule that only considered energy use when sets were in standby mode. 

Red Flags Rule - Identity Theft Rules

The Federal trade Commission (FTC) has issued a set of regulations, known as the "Red Flag Rule", requiring that certain entities develop and implement written identity theft prevention and detection programs to protect consumers from identity theft. the enforcement date of the Red Flag Rule is November 1, 2009.

Independent Contractor Withholding 

February 8, 2010 - A proposal to require businesses to withhold 3 percent of payments to independent contractors amounts to an interest-free loan to the state from small businesses. The California Chamber of Commerce has pointed out to state leaders that this Proposal is Small Business Job Killer.

Independent contractors are self-employed individuals and businesses, ranging from small businesses and entrepreneurs to large firms. Examples include: builders, real estate agents, computer programmers, accountants, automotive mechanics, attorneys, medical doctors, engineers. As businesses, independent contractors pay more kinds of taxes than employees, such as self-employment taxes and local business taxes; pay income taxes throughout the year through quarterly estimated tax payments; and are subject to penalties for not paying or underpaying.

Because of recent budget agreements, independent contractors must pay 70 percent of their taxes by June of each year for the next two years.

Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors

Government entities on both the state and federal level are taking an active interest in investigating misclassification of employees as "independent contractors." Classifying workers as "independent contractors" allows employers to avoid paying withholding taxes. This includes Social Security and Medicare taxes, in addition to paying unemployment taxes on wages paid to an employee. Businesses do not generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors. There are specific requirements that must be met in order to avoid classifying someone as an employee.

If you hire or subcontract work to others or if you are an independent contractor, you should be aware of the recent step-up of enforcement activities by government agencies when dealing with this issue. You can read our comments and cautions by visiting NKBA.org/legislation

How the Health Care Bill Affects Small Business 

From Business Week     

The health care reform law won't be fully implemented until 2018. While some self-employed people and small employers won't see any effects for a few years, others will feel the impact almost immediately.