The US Department of Energy estimated that in 2010, over 40% of US total primary energy use was by the building sector, greater than transportation, and greater than the industrial sector. Improving the energy performance of our buildings has many benefits.
- Economy: It costs the tenant/ratepayer less to operate a building. Even if the Owners are not paying the bills, they benefit when their high-performing buildings attract and keep tenants who appreciate the lower operating costs.
- Environment: All energy use comes with emissions to the environment. Higher efficiency means we use less energy to accomplish the same thing, and less energy use means a cleaner environment.
- Community: Californians are better at using energy efficiently than virtually all other states. However, Americans still use considerably more energy than our counterparts elsewhere; by some measures, the United States has 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the energy. We are better world citizens when we avoid hoarding resources that could be used by others.
Most people can agree that energy efficiency makes sense. But paying for it can be a struggle when funds are short. Financial resources for energy efficiency are available to the Sacramento area.
Assessing the Risk:
- Energy efficiency projects are some of the few facility costs that provide a payback.
- Energy efficiency projects can be seen as some of the lowest-risk investments available.
- Financial Resources:
The US Department of Energy provides a database of financial resources available in each state. Here is a link to the California page.
The federal government provides tax incentives for improving energy efficiency of commercial buildings beyond a standard level, typically ASHRAE Standard 90.1.
Utility companies offer a variety of rebates, grants and other incentives for purchasing efficient equipment, constructing efficient facilities, and modernizing systems efficiently. Be sure to notify your utility representative when you are first contemplating a project.
- PACE (property assessed clean energy) loans are repaid as part of your property tax bill.
Utility company loans. In some cases, loan repayment can be done as part of your monthly utility bill, through on-bill financing.
Energy Efficiency News:
Sacramento Area energy news:
California Energy Commission:
World energy news, from US Energy Information Administration (EIA):
- Assembly Bill 1103 Benchmarking: – California’s Assembly Bill 1103 (AB 1103), which passed in 2007, requires the benchmarking and disclosure of a non-residential building’s energy consumption data (from the previous year) to prospective buyers and lessees of the entire building or lenders who are financing the entire building. AB 1103 requires the use of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager System for Benchmarking. This system generates an energy efficiency rating for the building from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most energy efficient. If a building reaches a score of 75 or higher, owners can apply for an ENERGY STAR plaque. Any building applying for the ENERGY STAR label must have their data certified by a licensed professional engineer. For more information on AB 1103 and ENERGY STAR: