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For Immediate Release: December 23, 2005
Media Contact: Rob Schlichting - 916-654-4989

New Energy Commission report finds energy-efficiency possibilities in older buildings.

Sacramento - A just-released report from the California Energy Commission examines how much energy the state could save by making old buildings more energy efficient.

"The good news is that that many energy wasting older buildings have already been upgraded," said California Energy Commission Chairman Joseph Desmond. "There still remains a large reserve of potential energy savings in the 13 million existing buildings in California. More than half were built before the first Building Energy Efficiency Standards were established in 1978."

The report, "Options for Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings," was requested by the Legislature to "investigate options and develop a plan to decrease wasteful peak load energy consumption in existing residential and nonresidential buildings."

Building and Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards have made homes and buildings in California more efficient than those in other states and in many countries. The study finds that building standards increasingly affect existing buildings as they are remodeled or enlarged, while standards calling for more efficient appliances have cut energy use in existing buildings as well as new ones. Over the same 30-year period the California Public Utilities Commission has committed more than $5 billion to energy education, technical assistance, and incentive programs; 85 percent of that money was targeted to improve existing buildings.

The report recommends making energy improvements at certain "trigger points" - like time of sale, a change in a property's leaseholder, equipment replacement, or renovation. It calls for a pilot program to demonstrate the importance of revealing home energy ratings when homes are sold, and "benchmarking" commercial buildings statewide so owners can compare the energy efficiency of their properties to similar ones.

Other recommendations are in the "Options for Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings" report online at


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