Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings
A Framework to Saving Energy in California's Existing Buildings
California has long been a leader in efforts to improve building energy efficiency, both at the time of construction and upon a major remodel or equipment replacement. Efforts have included advanced building codes and appliance standards, a wide variety of incentive programs, design and installation training, and public outreach. California’s per capita energy consumption is among the lowest in the country and has remained relatively constant since 1974, in sharp contrast to the rest of the country.
Achieving California’s energy and climate goals requires radical improvement in the energy performance of existing buildings. Regulatory solutions alone will not accomplish this; true success will require a wide array of participants to apply creative, systemic solutions. Any approach must first and foremost meet the needs of energy users and building owners. Contractors, architects, local building officials, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, financing entities, and many others will also play a vital role.
Assembly Bill 758 (Skinner, Chapter 470, Statutes 2009) requires the Energy Commission, in collaboration with the California Public Utilities Commission and stakeholders, to develop a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy efficiency in the state’s existing buildings.
The Energy Commission foresees implementing AB 758 in three phases. The first phase began with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) implementation period (2010-2012). The Energy Commission’s ARRA-funded pilots supported energy efficiency efforts through state and local upgrade programs, workforce training, and financing. Funds were also used to implement an extensive outreach campaign, coupled with statewide and local public relations and marketing efforts. Phase I also included the development of the Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings Scoping Report, which outlined market needs and identified barriers to implementation. Phase I will conclude with the adoption of the AB 758 Action Plan, a roadmap of strategies encompassing all energy efficiency approaches.
Phase II will focus on implementing the roadmap necessary for foundational No Regrets Strategies to take hold and Voluntary Pathways to scale to achieve energy efficiency goals, partnerships, and market development. Phase III will develop and institute Mandatory Approaches that will move energy efficiency practices into the mainstream. Transformation and maturation of the energy efficiency marketplace will require the formation of partnerships and cooperation among all stakeholders.
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