Buildings End-Use Energy Efficiency Research - Policy Context

The Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), California's biennial energy policy document, describes the various energy policies significantly affecting California. Three of these policies - Assembly Bill 32 and Executive Orders S-14-08 and S-21-09 - reaffirm the Energy Commission's research for "increased development of renewable electricity sources, energy efficiency and demand response ... to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goal of 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2050." (Governor's Executive Order S-21-09).

The following eight key issues or considerations are addressed by the PIER Buildings Efficiency program:

  • Population growth and economic development trends in hot inland areas result in substantially increased energy consumption and peak demand.
  • Customers do not have affordable and effective tools, technologies, controls, and strategies to respond to time-dependent electricity prices.
  • Development of lower first-cost and lower operational-cost energy-efficient products are essential because affordability is the primary driver for building equipment purchase decisions.
  • The existing building sector is so large that it is critical for improved replacement products and operational strategies to reach that sector.
  • Systems and equipment frequently perform less efficiently than predicted due to sub-optimal integration of subsystems and components, improper installation, poor maintenance, and the inability to detect and diagnose degraded equipment performance.
  • Utility emerging technology programs and incentive programs facilitate improved building energy efficiency, but new technologies especially applicable to California need to be developed and investigated first.
  • Advanced technology has opened up new opportunities for energy savings and peak demand management in buildings. On the other hand, plug loads have increased from widespread use of computers and other consumer electronics.
  • Improved building and appliance standards are crucial for keeping building energy consumption low and California's electricity supply adequate and reasonably-priced.