The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Efficiency Division is committed to making California's businesses, homes, and appliances more energy-efficient. This goal is achieved by:  

  • Developing and implementing cost-effective energy efficiency building and appliance standards that produce savings and comfort.
  • Establishing the California Energy Efficiency Action Plan as California’s roadmap to decarbonize existing buildings.

The division has five key areas of responsibility: Appliance Standards, Building Energy Efficiency Standards, Standards Compliance, Existing Buildings, and Load Flexibility.

Appliance Standards

The CEC’s appliance regulations, combined with federal standards, set minimum efficiency levels for energy and water consumption in products such as consumer electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. The standards shift the marketplace toward more efficient products, producing significant energy savings for California consumers without affecting the usefulness of the products. The standards are developed with industry, energy efficiency advocates, and others through an open, transparent process. To ensure manufacturers comply, the CEC can fine manufacturers and retailers that sell appliances that do not meet the state standards. Read more about the appliance efficiency regulations.  

Building Energy Efficiency Standards

Every three years, the CEC updates energy efficiency standards for new buildings and alterations and additions to existing buildings. In addition to saving energy and money, the standards help integrate renewable energy onto the electrical grid. The standards reduce greenhouse gas emissions by maximizing efficiency during times of the day when the grid is most carbon-intensive. The CEC works with stakeholders, including local building departments, design professionals, and contractors, to implement the standards. Read more about Building Energy Efficiency Standards

Standards Compliance

To ensure compliance with new residential building standards, the CEC approves third-party providers who train and certify individuals who physically verify that builders have installed the energy efficiency measures according to the standards. Certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) raters have received the provider training and certification. Once certified, HERS raters inspect new homes upon completion and submit documentation to their HERS provider for registration. Learn more about the HERS Program

For new nonresidential buildings, the CEC approves Acceptance Test Technician Certification Providers (ATTCP). These providers train and certify field technicians and contractors who perform acceptance tests to ensure that HVAC systems and lighting and controls systems are appropriately installed and comply with standards. Learn more about the ATTCP Program.

Existing Buildings

Achieving California’s ambitious climate and energy goals will require decarbonizing existing buildings. While voluntary actions have achieved some efficiencies, significant potential remains. The CEC’s California Energy Efficiency Action Plan provides a 10-year roadmap to activate market forces and transform California’s existing residential, commercial, and public buildings into high-performing and energy-efficient ones. Read more about existing buildings.

Transforming California’s buildings requires accurate information for decision makers and consumers. The CEC developed the nation’s first statewide building energy benchmarking program for certain commercial and multifamily buildings. Giving consumers energy usage information will help encourage building owners to implement energy efficiency upgrades. Learn more about benchmarking.

Load Flexibility

California is moving to a 100 percent clean grid by building more solar, wind, and other renewables to reduce pollution, mitigate climate change impacts, and stabilize energy costs. Many renewables produce varying amounts of power throughout the day. Load flexibility, also called demand response, is the practice of adjusting load (or energy usage) to match the supply of electricity. Electricity customers with smart devices can automatically shift their energy usage to when electricity is cheaper and clean, and use less energy when the grid is under stress or running polluting power plants. Read more about Load Flexibility.