BUILD incentives are based on a project’s anticipated modeled greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction as compared to the mixed-fuel 2019 Energy Code prescriptive standards. Projects receiving BUILD incentives cannot result in higher utility bills for building occupants. Staff has developed a BUILD Calculator that applicants can use early in the design reservation step to estimate the incentive amounts available and ensure project designs meet the modeled resident bill savings requirements. 

Applicants that are one of the following may be eligible to participate in BUILD.

  • Private owner or developer
  • Public owner or developer
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Tribal Communities

Applicants must also meet the following criteria to be eligible to participate in BUILD.

  • Applicant demonstrates at least five years of development experience and have developed and received a certificate of occupancy for at least one deed restricted multifamily residential property in California, or at least one individual residence.
  • Applicant must be the legal entity or combination of legal entities with continuing control of the residential building that is deed restricted.
  • For single-family residences, applicant does not include the seller of the real property to be developed as the residential building unless the seller will retain control of the project for the period of time through project construction and completion and all BUILD program requirements have been met.

See BUILD Program Guidelines, Chapter 2: Eligibility, for detailed information.

Projects that meet one of the following categories may be eligible.

  • Residential new construction
  • Residential alteration where more than 50% of exterior walls are altered
  • Repurposed commercial building for residential housing

Projects must be in one of the four IOU gas service territories.

  • Southern California Gas Company
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • San Diego Gas & Electric Company
  • Southwest Gas Corporation

Projects must meet Low-Income Residential Housing Income Limit Requirements.

  • Multifamily: A building of at least two rental housing units that is operated to provide deed-restricted low-income residential housing and meets one or more of the following conditions.
    • The property is in a disadvantaged community and is consistent with the income requirements of the affordable multifamily financing source.
    • The property is in a low-income community in which at least 50 percent of households have an income less than 60 percent of the area median gross income and is consistent with the income requirements of the affordable multifamily financing source.
    • At least 80 percent of the households living in the building have incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income.
  • Single-family: a low-income residence, described as a residence sold at an affordable housing cost to a lower-income household that is subject to a resale restriction or equity-sharing agreement for which the homeowner does not receive a greater share of equity.

See BUILD Program Guidelines, Chapter 2: Eligibility, for detailed information.

BUILD incentives consist of a 3 Step process:

  • Step 1: Design Reservation (optional): Applicants can reserve BUILD incentives based on the initial building designs, and apply for the New Adopter Design Award, if applicable. The initial term of the design reservation is 18 months, by which time eligible applicants must meet the readiness requirements to proceed to Step 2: Construction Reservation. (If applicants are further along in the project development, they may apply at Step 2 instead.)
  • Step 2: Construction Reservation: When applicants are ready for construction, or in the early phases of construction, applicants can apply for the construction reservation for the initial progress payments. The construction reservation is valid for 36 months from the date of the construction reservation commitment letter.
  • Step 3: Project Completion: When construction is completed, applicants can receive their final payment.

See the BUILD Program Guidelines, Chapter 5: Program Participation, for more details on the steps and requirements.

The New Adopter Design Award provides an eligible applicant constructing their first all-electric, low-income multifamily building with up to $100,000 design award to defray direct design costs. A total of $2 million is available for this award and awards are made on a first come, first serve basis.

  • Developers with no previous experience in all-electric building design and construction.
  • Multifamily buildings with at least 10 dwelling units.
  • Proof of reimbursable direct costs and paid invoices for architectural, engineering, energy consultation, or other building-design services for an eligible project.
  • Applicant must request this award in the application for the Step 1: Design Reservation, and approval and payment is contingent upon the CEC’s approval of the Step 1: Design Reservation application.

See BUILD Program Guidelines, Chapter 3: Technical Assistance and New Adopter Design Award, for more information.

The goal of BUILD incentives is to reduce GHG emissions and result in reduced utility costs for building occupants. The BUILD Guidelines include a methodology to evaluate project design, the energy measures required, estimate the GHG reduction value and calculate the incentive amount. The incentive amount considers a project’s design and is scaled to the estimated GHG reduction. This estimate considers efficiency measures, solar systems beyond California Energy Code (Energy Code) requirements, and other technologies that further reduce GHG emissions.

Program Cap:$2 million Per Applicant. Base GHG Incentive based on GHG emissions avoided + Building Efficiency-Modeled Resident Utility Costs based on percent above code + Incremental PV-Modeled Resident Utility Costs based on a flat rate for PV above code + Kicker Incentive, incentive for additional GHG reduction technologies = Total Incentive.

Base Greenhouse Gas Incentive

Incentive amount is based on avoided building GHG emissions at a flat rate of $150/metric ton. This is calculated for the whole building GHG performance modeling using CEC’s CBECC software as compared to the Energy Code Standard design for that building.

Increased Building Efficiency Incentive
Incentive is based on the project’s building envelope and efficiency measures percentage above minimum code compliance.

Modeled Resident Utility Costs and Incremental Photovoltaic (PV) Incentive
Incentive for additional PV installed beyond the Energy Code if used to meet the modeled resident utility cost requirements.

Technology Kicker Incentives
The program provides additional incentives for technologies that further reduce GHG emissions, the benefits of which are not included in the modeled GHG reductions in the base incentive.

See Table 4.1 in the BUILD Program Guidelines for a detailed list of equipment and incentive amounts.

Minimum Base GHG Incentive Estimate

Applicants can quickly estimate their minimum base GHG incentive amount for their project by climate zone and building type. 

BUILD Calculator and Custom Energy Model

There are two options to calculate the incentive value of a project at the time of Step 1: Design Reservation. An applicant can use the BUILD calculator or submit a CEC approved energy model to estimate their incentive values. All applicants must submit CEC approved energy model calculations at Step 2: Construction Reservation and Step 3: Project Completion, to reflect building design and address changes more accurately to Energy Code over the progress or stage of the project.

Downloadable files with instructions for the BUILD Calculator and the Custom Energy Model Tool are available on the webpage sidebar.

  • BUILD Calculator (Option for Step 1)
    Estimate the initial incentive through the BUILD Calculator, which calculates the value of the base GHG, efficiency, and incremental PV incentive values. When an applicant submits a Step 2: Construction Reservation, if the incentive value(s) have changed the applicant will submit a recalculation to be confirmed by CEC staff.
  • Custom Energy Model (Option for Step 1, Required for Step 2 and Step 3)
    The incentive is calculated from the applicant’s submitted building energy model. The base GHG incentive and PV capacity will be identified and confirmed by the results of the submitted data. The applicant must submit an energy model input file, created with CEC approved compliance software. See the CEC Building Energy Efficiency Standards Approved Computer Compliance Programs for a list of approved compliance software.

It is recommended for applicants to use the BUILD Custom Path Tool to verify the project meets the modeled resident utility cost savings requirement and to calculate their incentive amount.

Note the BUILD Custom Path Tool uses special output files (hourly energy use profiles) created by CBECC-Res and CBECC-Com and staff are not aware if other CEC-approved compliance software programs can produce the required output files.

Updates to Comparison Baseline

As the Energy Code is updated on a three-year cycle, so will the comparison baseline, which could change as an applicant moves through the BUILD steps. The baseline comparison for the incentives awarded to an applicant will be based on the Energy Code in effect at the time the applicant applies for the building permit with the applicable local agency or tribal government.

See BUILD Program Guidelines, Appendix C and D for additional information on the calculation methodology.

Apply for a BUILD incentive through the online application portal. Technical assistance for application completion is available by submitting a Technical Assistance Application.

Resources and information to complete a Build incentive application for Step 1: Design Reservation (including the New Adopter Design Award, if applicable), Step 2: Construction Reservation, and Step 3: Project Completion, and information to complete a payment claim form are provided for reference. 

Prepare for an Incentive Application

  • BUILD Incentive Application Instructions
    Review the instructions for the BUILD online application prior to beginning an incentive application to better understand the system process and requirements.
  • Technical Assistance Application
    Eligible applicants can receive up to 300 hours of technical assistance provided by the Association for Energy Affordability to support developers, architects, engineers, energy consultants and staff of eligible applicants prior to and throughout the BUILD participation process. Visit the Technical Assistance webpage for more information.
  • CalEnviroScreen 3.0
    Mapping tool that can be utilized to identify if a project is located in a California community that is considered as disadvantaged or lower income (pursuant Health and Safety Code).
  • California Climate Zones
    Find out which of the 16 Climate Zones the project is located.
  • California Natural Gas Utility Service Area - PDF
    Confirm the project is located in an eligible IOU gas service territory.
  • BUILD Incentive Calculators or Energy Model Input File
    View the Estimate Incentives, BUILD Calculator and BUILD Custom Path Tool for more information and links to the calculators. 
  • BUILD Program Guidelines
    View the BUILD Program Guidelines for all the requirements on applying for a BUILD incentive.
  • BUILD Program Attestations
    Applicants are required to complete and submit this form during the incentive application process.
  • BUILD Supplemental Application Narrative
    Applicants are required to complete and submit this form during the incentive application process.
  • Payee Data Record Form (STD-204) - PDF
    Applicants are required to complete and submit this form to receive a BUILD incentive payment.

Complete an Incentive Application

Request Incentive Payments
(Forms listed in this section are under development. Email BUILD@energy.ca.gov if further information is needed at this time.)

  • New Adopter Design Award Payment Claim Form
    Complete and submit the payment claim form to receive the New Adopter Design Award payment, if applicable.
  • Construction Reservation Payment Claim Form
    Upon approval of a Construction Reservation, complete and submit the payment claim form to receive up to 25 percent of the calculated base GHG incentive value or actual eligible costs, whichever is less.
  • Building Foundation Payment Claim Form
    Complete and submit the payment claim form to receive up to 50 percent of the calculated base GHG incentive value, or actual eligible costs, whichever is less.
  • Project Completion or Lump Sum Payment Claim Form
    Complete and submit the payment claim form to receive the remaining portion of base GHG incentive amount and any remaining incentive funding will be released to reimburse for actual eligible costs.

For questions on the BUILD Program, please contact BUILD@energy.ca.gov.

Contact

Build Calculator

Use the BUILD Calculator to estimate a project’s incentive amount using modeled prototypes. This calculator is an option for use during Step 1: Design Reservation.

Please download the appropriate calculator for the building type.

Build Custom Path Tool

Use BUILD Custom Path Tool to see if a project meets the modeled resident utility cost savings and calculate the incentive amount using the building design energy model. This tool is an option for Step 1: Design Reservation step and required for Step 2: Construction Reservation and Step 3: Project Completion.

Please download the appropriate tool for the building type.