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Tierra Resource Consultants[1] developed the forecast and production cost model for energy efficiency for the California 2030 Low Carbon Grid Study (LCGS).  This study explored opportunities to achieve a low carbon grid and discussed using three areas of initiative including;

  1. Voluntary participation regulated programs. These are energy efficiency programs operated by various administrators, such as utilities, that promote energy efficiency through voluntary participation programs that are subject to regulatory oversight.
  2. Mandatory policy initiatives. Mandatory policy initiatives are legislative and regulatory activities occurring at the state or local level that require some minimum level of energy efficiency.
  3. Evolving market mechanisms. For the purposes of the LCGS, evolving market mechanisms represent initiatives that will either expand participation in existing energy efficiency activities beyond what has historically been captured, or offer new pathways to achieve energy savings that have not been recognized in past market initiatives

The discussion on evolving market delivery mechanisms considers PACE financing as a key driver of expanded participation in distributed energy resource delivery. Because PACE offers a broader range of products and does not operate on a regulated program cycle, it has several inherent advantages when compared to various other utility program offerings. This is shown in the illustrative comparison of PACE and regulated voluntary participation programs.

 

[1] With input from the California Energy and Demand Management Industry Council

PACE vs. Regulated Voluntary Participation Program

The discussion on mandatory policy initiatives considers a host of innovative methods such as the City of Berkeley’s Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances and efforts by the Bay Area Regional Energy Networks (BayREN) to address low code compliance rates[1] including; 

  • Full conformance with all aspects of energy code documentation requirements is uncommon for all types of buildings and at all stages of construction.
  • Many buildings were compliant with code minimums once code errors and omissions (discrepancies) were corrected. However, the presence of the errors, and subsequent building energy savings represented by the correction of those errors, are a lost opportunity for energy savings.
  • Local governments, building departments, and their staff are very influential not only in enforcing minimum compliance rates, but also in encouraging best practice building design and construction.
  • Departmental pressures, such as limited staffing and competing health and safety priorities, constrain the ability of building departments to thoroughly review energy code requirements on every project executed.

The study highlights the role of local governments and regional energy initiatives in increasing the number of sustainability projects installed and increasing the total sustainability value of all projects through PACE and verifying that these savings are occurring through better compliance.  The following illustration (Error! Reference source not found.) outlines how these contributions might reduce the carbon footprint of residential (and commercial) facilities as consumers make informed decisions and have the tools to maximize the sustainability value of each choice. 

 

[1] BayREN Codes & Standards Permit Resource Opportunity Program (PROP) Final Report and

Energy Code Resource Guide. April 1, 2015. 

System Contributions to Reducing Carbon Footprint