Complete Video Transcription:
BERKELEY — Host, Sarah Rutan: As of 2020, laws have gone into effect that make it easier for California homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their properties. Today we’re in Berkeley with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Rolf Bell of Green Living Builders to learn more.
Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Rolf Bell: Most of us have heard the phrase accessory dwelling units or ADUs. As of January 1 here in the state of California, every homeowner has the right to build an ADU on their property and also a JADU, which is known as a junior ADU, but we’ll talk about that probably later.
An accessory dwelling unit we often refer to as a granny unit or an in-law unit, and they can actually be a detached structure. They can be in the attic. They can be in the basement. They can be a carve out of your existing house if you live in a large house. There’s many different ways that an accessory dwelling unit can fit into your exiting property.
You also have the ability to convert a garage, even build on top of an exiting garage, and/or if you have a legal accessory structure in your backyard that may have been a greenhouse or an art studio, that can also be convert into an ADU. And if those buildings, the garage or the structure are within the 4-foot setback, you do not have to change the setback location of that ADU.
You can put it right on the property line, a foot back or 2-feet back if it’s in fact where your garage or accessory dwelling unit is located. You can build up to 800-square-feet by right, and cities are only allowed to take 60 days for the approval process to get you moving forward if your application is complete when you submitted that.
You are not required to have separate utility hookups for an ADU although it’s often quite advisory to have a separate electrical meter, and we’ll talk about that in a little bit. It’s the most flexible form of housing we have now in the state of California. Many families are considering this option to create a multi-generational compound.
Others are considering aging in place because we can make these ADA accessible if they live in a house that has stairs or other difficult issues for us as we age. We can use these for a rental income and in many other ways to benefit the changing landscape of our families over the course of a decade or two.
With that said, let’s go take a look at ADU that’s nearly complete to help us understand the new rules and issues with net zero energy construction. Let’s go. As of January 1 throughout California, any new construction requires net zero energy construction. This ADU also serves as a perfect example of that.
We use 2 by 6 walls, thicker mineral wall installation in the walls, and in the ceiling we use a closed cell foam that gives us a remarkable waterproof seal, air seal, and insulation. But this is also an all-electric house. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need a new electric connection per requirement of the city, but it’s advised to do that, to get to an all-electric construction ADU.
This ADU has a 200-amp service that seems like a lot, but because we’re running our stove, our heat, our hot water, and eventually even an electric car off of this, that makes perfect sense in this new non-gas world. Behind me is an induction stove that cooks far more efficient and more temperature sensitive than a traditional gas stove.
There’s a mini-split heating/cooling system that uses a third of amount of energy as a traditional heating source. There’s an electric dryer and a hybrid hot water heat pump that uses also a third the amount of energy as a standard electric hot water heater.
All those things get us to a net zero construction and then what ultimately seals the deal is adding solar to this house and in some cases, people are also adding solar battery storage backup in case they live in a high wind area. But this is how we get to net zero construction in a very creative way and in a way that really supports very comfortable living.
Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.
Read moreRead less