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Active Enforcement of Building Energy Efficiency Standards
air conditioner repair

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CSLB and the California Energy Commission was approved on June 30, 2010, to help assure that heating, ventilating, and cooling systems that are installed, repaired, or replaced in California meet the latest Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards).

Under the MOU, the Energy Commission will report to CSLB any allegations of violations of the permits and testing required by the Standards. The Energy Commission will assist CSLB investigations and sting operations that target potential violators, and provide testimony and documentation to support CSLB action against licensees who fail to adhere to the Standards. CSLB will also partner with the Energy Commission for education and outreach efforts to California contractors, consumers, and building department personnel.

CSLB's contractor notification effort began in late 2009, and the board ramped up its permit compliance enforcement in January 2010, partnering with the California Building Officials (CALBO). Letters were mailed to C-20 (Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning, or HVAC) contractors in the cities of Fairfield, Folsom, Grand Terrace, La Puente, Porterville, Rocklin, and Whittier before a series of sting operations was conducted in those cities during February and March 2010.

Most of the 50 contractors contacted during the sting operations indicated they knew about the permits, energy, and safety requirements associated with HVAC systems. However, some offered to skirt the process in order to offer a lower bid to investigators posing as homeowners. About one third of those invited to the stings committed potential permit violations. As a result of the stings, CSLB issued six citations and two more are pending.

In addition to being in violation of the Standards, failure to pull the proper permits and assure that HVAC systems are inspected and approved is also a violation of California Business and Professions Code Sections 7110 and 7090. Contractor discipline can result in up to $5,000 in fines per citation, as well as suspension and/or revocation of the contractor license.

CSLB distributed a letter to its nearly 12,000 C-20 license holders in July 2010 to reinforce awareness of CSLB's accelerated enforcement of Standards requirements for HVAC permits and testing. The letter explains the importance of adherence to the Standards for energy efficiency, health, and safety and the violation penalties.    | previous    |    next