For Immediate Release: March 9, 2015
Media Contact: Amber Pasricha Beck - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Releases Framework to Double Progress in Achieving Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission has released the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan (Action Plan) which lays out a roadmap to increase energy efficiency in existing commercial and residential buildings. Commercial and residential buildings account for nearly 70 percent of California's electricity and 55 percent of California's natural gas consumption. Improving the energy performance of our existing buildings is crucial to reaching the state's climate goals. Implementation of the Action Plan will help meet Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s goal to double the progress in achieving energy efficiency of California's existing buildings.

"By renewing and updating our commitment to the delivery of efficiency technologies and services, we will help create the conditions that enable consumers and property owners to make more efficient choices," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the Energy Commission's lead on energy efficiency. "Our long-term goal must be to ensure efficiency is attractive, straightforward and routine across the marketplaceā€”in each building improvement project and equipment replacement."

The Action Plan provides a comprehensive framework centered on five goals, each with a series of strategies to achieve it. Each strategy includes collaboration between industry and government. Easy, regular access to energy use data for building owners and their agents is a key component of the Action Plan. Making efficiency project costs and savings information available is another principal strategy.

"Effective solutions will be those that provide true value for California's building owners and consumers," said McAllister. "After all, demand begins with them. Therefore, the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan focuses on enabling markets to implement efficiency at a scale that is competitive with other clean energy supply options."

The approach in the Action Plan is to help consumers recognize the benefits and value of efficiency, supported by policies to make public and private financial assistance available and easy to access. Government leadership plays a key role in this by creating a new statewide commercial benchmarking and disclosure program, encouraging local government innovation, and shaping better energy codes for existing buildings.

California has approximately 600,000 commercial buildings, nine million single-family homes and four million multifamily units. An estimated 50 percent of existing buildings in California were built before California Building Energy Efficiency Standards went into effect in 1978. Doubling the rate of energy savings from building efficiency projects would result in lower total building energy use in 2030 than in 2014, despite population and economic growth, and is equivalent to a 17 percent reduction in usage compared to projected 2030 levels.

The Action Plan was prompted by the passage of Assembly Bill 758, authored by former Assembly Member Nancy Skinner (D- Berkeley). Because stakeholder engagement is critical to the long-term success of the Action Plan, the Energy Commission will conduct a public engagement process. A workshop is scheduled for April 7 and revisions to the Action Plan will be made in response to public comment. The report will go to the California Energy Commission for adoption in mid-2015.

"The California Energy Commission looks forward to continued partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission, other state agencies, public and investor-owned utilities, industry and local governments on the plan's implementation, oversight and evolution," concluded McAllister.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.

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