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CALGreen & CEC Overview

Editor's Note: Special thanks to Derek (whom you may know from our projects side) who filled in for Tom's Tech Tip this month because he is our resident CalGreen/CEC expert and because Tom said, and I quote, "I don't want to."

By now, everyone in the plumbing industry has heard of CEC and CalGreen. While often spoken of together, they are separate rule-making groups, with different enforcement methods. (Note that they make rules about construction materials and methods beyond just plumbing – but we plumbing nerds only care about plumbing.) There’s a lot of backstory about how these rules came to be, but let’s skip that to discuss specifically how CalGreen and the CEC affect you and your customers. 

So who are the authorities behind these names? CEC is the California Energy Commission. The CEC has the legal authority to prohibit non-compliant plumbing products from being sold in California, and to penalize sellers (meaning showrooms, wholesalers, and plumbers) up to $7,500 per violation. In order for most plumbing fixtures to be legally sold in CA., they must be listed on the CEC’s plumbing products/appliance efficiency database. Note that the CEC has nothing to do with permits or inspections. The CEC regulates products by penalizing sellers who violate the rules.

CalGreen is formally known as the California Green Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 11, of the California Code of Regulations (catchy title). For us in the plumbing world, CalGreen governs what products can pass a final plumbing inspection. It is functionally enforced at the plan-check and final inspection stages of the permit process, which is a local authority. Enforcement can vary by city (and plumbers can speak to this variability) – but the efficiency requirements listed below are the mandatory ones in CalGreen for statewide installations.

Maintenance and repair is different from new installation, and both the CEC and CalGreen acknowledge this (permits are generally not required for maintenance work). CEC does not require commercial flush valves to be listed, and valves with bigger flush volumes (to service existing fixtures) are allowed.

Here is a table that shows the current rules from each body. As always, you can rely on Western Sales to supply current info on codes as they are updated. 

So there's the exciting story of CEC & CalGreen. As always, feel free to contact us if you want to know more.


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