Poor-Quality HVAC Installs Are Costing Us. A Solution Is Within Reach.

California has ambitious goals for transitioning to clean, all-electric appliances to eliminate building emissions. But meeting these goals will require action on a little discussed, yet critical issue: HVAC permitting compliance.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is responsible for 24 percent of electricity use and 40 percent of gas use in California buildings, with households spending over $1,000 on HVAC alone each year.

Without a doubt, these systems have significant impacts on energy costs and home comfort. That is why HVAC installations are required by law to be permitted and comply with the California Building Code’s quality installation requirements.

Yet, today, most HVAC installations in California are completed without a permit. In fact, only about 10 percent of residential HVAC replacements are permitted, resulting in about 315,000 unpermitted HVAC installations every year. Widespread, unpermitted HVAC installation wastes energy, worsens indoor air quality, and hinders the transition to clean, electric appliances. The California State Legislature can and must improve HVAC permitting compliance by passing Senate Bill (SB) 795 this year.

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