local government partnership

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly update


New! - EE Coordinator Resources PageCAISO Today's Outlook

Local Government Request:
Has anyone implemented a mandatory or incentive-based SOLAR + STORAGE program/ordinance? We’re considering implementing an ordinance mandating solar PV for residential and non-residential new construction. For a more complete 24-hour-a-day solution, which also increases our resilience, we’re contemplating adding energy storage, either as mandatory installed or wired storage-ready. We’d love to hear from others who have implemented this or have considered doing so. Please reply to Steve Attinger (steve.attinger@mountainview.gov).

Here are your wEEkly updates:

News and Opportunities

Congratulations to Beacon and Spotlight Award Winners for 2017!
Congratulations to cities, counties, and other local agencies improving sustainability in their communities! Palo Alto, San Carlos, Claremont, Hayward, Foster City, Sacramento, Fremont, Scotts Valley and Alpine County all received Beacon Awards this year.

CEC, CPUCand California ISO - California Microgrid Roadmap Joint Workshop
As part of an ongoing workshop series discussing the opportunities and challenges associated with the creation of a microgrid in California, the CEC, CPUC, ISO will be hosting the final joint workshop with stakeholders at the ISO on October 2, 2017.

Regional Forum - Municipal Buildings Leading by Example
This BayREN forum will focus on how local governments are setting and meeting ambitious targets aimed at improving energy efficiency in public buildings while encouraging the private sector to do the same.

Winter is coming, but 1 idea may help save Planet Earth
California Treasurer John Chiang is partnering with the Milken Institute and Environmental Finance to host a symposium on green bonds for institutional investors in Los Angeles, Feb. 27-28

California Clean Energy Proposals Face Demise As Opposition Fails to Yield
California has grown accustomed to setting benchmark after benchmark on environmental policies, but ambitious efforts to spread renewable energy around the state and the region could grind to a halt this week.

Free Webinar - Achieving Zero Net Energy for Multifamily Housing
The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) invites city officials, multifamily building owners, facility managers and contractors to attend a free webinar, Tuesday, Sept. 26, that will showcase start-to-finish resources for reaching zero net energy (ZNE) in the multifamily building sector.

Resources and Publications

FAQ resource on California's state-regulated light-emitting-diode standards
A new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) resource on California’s state-regulated light-emitting-diode standards has been posted to the Title 20 Appliance Efficiency Program’s website.

Local Policy Benchmarking Toolkit from ACEEE
Many cities have started benchmarking initiatives to reduce citywide energy consumption. This could be good news for people living in apartments and condominiums, because many are renters and low-income residents who would benefit from lower energy bills.

Low-Interest Loans for Energy Efficiency Projects Applications are Now Available!
Notices and applications are now available on the CEC website for financing of energy efficiency & renewable energy generation projects

Career Opportunities

SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

10/15-10/18 Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference
A conference focused on understanding the behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations and using that knowledge to accelerate our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!

Cary Garcia Jr.
Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly Update


Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center | Energy Code Ace

SEEC Local Government Roundtable
You can find more information and join a Local Government Roundtable using the link above. The current street lighting roundtable is scheduled for March 27th. The next roundtable for Codes and Standards will be scheduled soon.

News and Opportunities

PG&E Resilient Communities Grant Program
PG&E is currently requesting grant proposals that will build healthy and resilient forests and watersheds to help communities prevent and prepare for increasing wildfire risk. Eligible projects include research, planning or demonstration projects that support local climate resilience initiatives.

BayREN Forum: Household Electrification as a Pathway to On-Site ZNE
The BayREN Codes & Standards (C&S) team invites you to register for their upcoming regional forum on March 30th. The focus of this workshop is to help local governments address misconceptions and questions about 2016 Title 24 Energy Codes when designing new, or applying deep energy retrofits for, all-electric low-rise residential buildings.

New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook
The California Energy Commission adopted the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook, Tenth Edition (NSHP Guidebook) at its March 8, 2017, Business Meeting.

Electric Vehicle Readiness Ordinance Introduced in SF
The EV Readiness Ordinance strives to eliminate cost barriers to EV charging deployment in existing construction by requiring electrical capacity and supporting infrastructure to be in place at time of new construction or major renovation in order to meet the growing demand for EV charging.

CAEECC Adhoc Working Group Meeting 3/17 
The California Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee (CAEECC) will be hosting an Ad hoc working group meeting in San Francisco to discuss the year 2 planning process and prepare for the formal CAEECC meeting on April 19.

Community Focused Equity in Research Funding 3/20
California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop to discuss energy research and development needs of disadvantaged communities for inclusion in future funding initiatives.

LGSEC Quarterly Energy Networking Meeting 3/29
Dan Sperling, Board Member at the California Air Resources Board and Founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis will be the keynote speaker discussing current implications of federal actions on state policies and goals relating to electric vehicles.

Publications and Resources

California Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee
The California Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee (CAEECC) is a venue for stakeholders to provide input into the development of the Program Administrators' energy efficiency business plans.

Energy Standards Outreach & Education Schedule
The California Energy Commission maintains a calendar of events where Outreach & Education staff will be sharing information on energy efficiency and Title 24 Building Standards across the state.

Career Opportunities

Project Coordinator: Energize Fresno
The Local Government Commission has an immediate full-time position for a Project Coordinator to support the the Energy and Climate Change sector. In particular, they are looking for someone to support the Energize Fresno  projects.

SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

3/16-3/19 (Yosemite National Park) Yosemite Policymakers Conference
Join mayors, city council members, county supervisors, city managers, and high-level department heads for the 26th Annual Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

4/26-4/27 Green California Summit (Sacramento)
The Summit provides a forum where innovations in policy, technology and practice can be showcased and shared.

5/5/17 (Long Beach) The Business of Local Energy Symposium 2017
Business of Clean Energy Symposium to convening government, business, and community leaders to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy and to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs.

Cary Garcia Jr.
Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator

CivicSpark is now recruiting Project Partners for 2017-18
Over the past 3 years, CivicSpark, LGC's Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program has provided 130,000+ hrs of climate and water capacity-building support to over 100 public agencies. If you are a local government, State agency, or an NGO with a climate or water action project need, visit our website to learn more and apply to receive project support!


Is your infrastructure in need of a tune-up?

If you answered yes to the above question, then let us introduce you to the Municipal Energy Tune Up (METU) Program.

METU offers energy efficiency project assistance from “cradle to grave” to all central valley local governments.

  • Energy Benchmarking measures energy usage at each of your sites to identify opportunities for energy and money savings.
  • Readiness Reports to outline the steps needed to get the project done and information to get projects approved.
  • Advanced Project Assistance should your staff lack the time to manage the project to completion.

These services are made possible with funding from PG&E and completely free of charge to you. Don’t have the budget for energy efficiency projects? We can help with that too!

Connect with us today!
E: metu@sjvceo.org
T: (877) 748-0841

Check out our new website!

Energy Audits of Small Government Buildings

A walk through audit is just that--walking through a building, looking for quick and easy ways to save energy.  You're not looking to see if the occupancy sensor in a room needs to be relocated, but rather finding obvious energy-saving measures.  And when performed after benchmarking your building(s), you can save time and money by only auditing buildings that have a really high energy foot print for the type of building it is.  Here at SJVCEO we benchmark A LOT of small government buildings, so we have a pretty good sense of how much energy a City Hall of a certain size consumes here in the San Joaquin Valley.  Or a fire station, or even a police station.  And the more similar facilities we benchmark, the stronger our case is when we say “This building needs an audit. Here’s where it falls on the spectrum of similar facilities in the San Joaquin Valley.”  Wouldn't you like to know if you should be keeping up with the Joneses?  Or, what if you are the Joneses?
The first part of performing a walk through audit is to gather up all the information and equipment you may need before you walk in.  That includes:
  • An energy consumption chart of the past 12 month of energy consumption.  It may help you identify and/or confirms problems in the building.
  • Satellite imagery.  How large is the building?  Does it have an attached parking lot?  How many rooftop units might you encounter?  Google Streetview can help you here too.
  • The building's floor plan.  If you're marking potential energy-saving measures, you'll want to note where they are.  Also, so you don't get lost!
  • A camera phone.  An iPhone takes really pictures, has a built-in flash, and is thin enough to fit around tight corners.  And sometimes, the zoom is pretty decent too.
  • A light meter.  How much light hits the surfaces that are to be illuminated?  Is it enough, too much or not enough?  Ensuring there's the right amount of light hitting surfaces can reduce your energy consumption and/or increase office productivity.
  • A fluorescent ballast checker.  A T-8 lamp may look energy efficient, but it could be running on a magnetic ballast, known to consume more energy than necessary.  Using one of these lets you find out if they are without opening up the fixture.
  • A clipboard and paper.  You may not have a surface available to write on, and you'll definitely be taking notes along the way.
  • Typical energy consumption breakdown for the building's use.  You can go to the California End Use Survey (CEUS) website, which will show you on average how much each end use (lighting, cooling, heating) consumes for a type of building. The charts it produces help you focus your efforts by identifying where the largest amount of energy goes.
    Lighting, office equipment, and air conditioning
    are the largest consumers of energy
    in San Joaquin Valley small offices. Source: CEUS
Once you're in the building, you'll want to talk to individuals how may know the most about how the building operates.  When does the lights come on?  Who turns off and on the thermostat?  Speaking of thermostats...

Be sure to record the schedule and temperature settings of the thermostats.  Workers don't like to be uncomfortable, so the settings they plug into it might indicate a lot.  If they have the cooling temperature set really low, that might indicate a failing compressor or vents located in the wrong places.  You may not be able to point out a fix, but the building operators should definitely know to consider looking more into it.

Also, the schedule might be off!  Maybe it comes on 2 hours before work starts, or stays on longer than it needs to.  A lot of City Halls also hold City Council meetings at night, but typically not weekends, and especially not every night.  Those changes are quick and painless, and result in instant and often impressive savings.

Look in the cubicles.  Are there smart power strips?  Often overlooked, but employees aren’t at their desk all the time. If there’s nothing to turn off auxiliary devices when their space is vacant, there’s some additional savings.  While you're there, ask if the computers go to sleep or into hibernation automatically.  If they don't, there's even more savings there too!

Look for occupancy sensors in areas that aren't occupied often, like bathrooms and conference rooms, and especially Council chambers.  Lights in those areas are often left on longer than they need to be, and can be easily retrofitted for quick savings.

Take a look outside, too.  Some building-attached lighting can be really inefficient, and even more so if they are on an indoor switch.  Changing them to a photo sensor or time clock can save a lot of money without a lot of headache.  Even more can be saved by switching to LED.  The same goes for parking lot lights.  Their long run hours make for a quick payback, even if the building is on a time-of-use rate.

Once you're finished tallying up all the measures, you'll want to calculate how much each will save. Some will be easier (like lighting) than others.  Energy rates can be found on their respective utility company's website, or you can use a general Annual Consumption divided by Annual Cost for an average Cost per kWh.  Don't bother getting too bogged down in calculating exactly how much each measure will save, as this is just a walk through audit.  Prices for materials are easy to find, but labor can be a different story.  Find the prevailing wage rate for the type of work (for electrical, its typically Inside Wireman) and make an assumption for how much time the work might take, or ask your City Engineer for an estimate.  Take that cost, and divide it by annual cost savings, and you have yourself the Simple Payback.  You can even take the inverse of that number (1/X) and get the Return on Investment percentage too.  Do this for every measure, total it up, and do it again.  Some measures might have a long payback, but combined with faster payback measures, you can get a lot of savings very quickly!

Lighting the Way to Savings

We have all gotten used to having lights to guide us down the road or down the sidewalk, but do you know how much electricity it takes to light that path? Many American’s have no idea what it takes to keep common area lighting going, but your cities and counties do. If you were to ask them how much it costs they would most likely state…TOO MUCH!

Cities have held back on making the leap to LED streetlights, since it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Many city councils and or county supervisors get hung up on the price tag and vote no, but there are many more added benefits to making the change than one would think. When streetlights are upgraded to LED streetlights cities will gain more than energy savings and energy usage. They will be improving light pollution, wasted lighting and public safety. Many may doubt that the items listed above can be improved with just lights, but I am here to prove it to you!

Most of the older streetlights that you see today were installed in the 1970’s and give off an orange hue. The hue is caused by the lights containing sodium, which takes a lot of energy to keep lit.  Estimates show that for outdoor parking and roadway lighting the US spends around $10 Billion dollars’ each year. That same amount that goes to those outdoor lighting structures would be able to power around 6 million homes.  [i]  Besides the conservation of energy look at the dollars and cents that would be saved. That is a large chunk of money that a city or county could put toward a large improvement project.

When a city decides to make the switch to LED streetlights they would be able to use 60% less electricity. One such success story was featured in SF Bay. The City of San Jose is retrofitting 63,000 of their streetlights by the year 2016. [ii] It is one of the biggest lighting retrofits in the country. The city is doing a two part retrofit with the first part consisting of 18,100 lights and comes at a cost of $10.5 million. The city is working with PG&E on their streetlights program, which will provide around $900,000 in rebates once all is said and done. With the incentive taken into consideration the city will cut the big price tag down to $9.6 million. Not too shabby of a savings in my book.

Besides the money and energy savings cities can improve light pollution and wasted light as well. Having LED streetlights allows the lighting to be directed to where you would like the lighting to go to.[iii] Along with having directional light LED’s are able to deliver a more even light to the area being lit. With more even light you do not get the glowing sensation like you would with the older orange lights.

Now when it comes to improving public safety street lights help to improve pedestrian safety and traffic safety. With well thought out plans of street lights pedestrian can become more visible along the sidewalks as well as in the crosswalks or roadways. When it comes to traffic safety improved lighting would be a no brainer. With well-lit roadways and intersections you have improved visibility of vehicles. Most of your high lit areas would be those that have high traffic, high volume and dangerous or blind curves.

Though city officials would receive praise for making such large investments and upgrades they can also receive national recognition. Just this year President Obama launched the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting. This challenge is to help push municipalities to make the upgrade to better outdoor lighting. For those cities and local governments that would like to gain that recognition and complete the work they will be listed on the white house partners listing as well as gain press attention.  

[i] “LED Outdoor Lighting: A $6 Billion Annual Savings Opportunity”, Mar. 18, 2015, http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2015/03/led-outdoor-lighting-a-6-billion-annual-savings-opportunity
[ii] “San Jose Flips Switch on LED Streetlights”, Mar., 18, 2015, http://sfbay.ca/2015/02/11/san-jose-flips-switch-on-led-streetlights/
[iii] “Improving Efficiency in Municipal Street and Public Space Lighting”, Mar., 26, 2015, http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/Docs/for_my_business/lighting_programs/StreetLightingGuide.pdf

Gov. Brown seeks to continue energy efficiency programs

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to roll out a bill to save a longtime energy efficiency program due to expire in two weeks, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Marc Lifsher of the Times writes that a draft of the bill — dubbed the Clean Energy, Jobs and Investment Act of 2011 — "was presented at a private meeting late last week in the governor's office with utility executives, legislative staffers, environmentalists and power plant developers."

Lifsher quotes Brown staffer Nancy McFadden as saying that the measure is a "priority for Gov. Brown because of its proven job-creation potential and role in galvanizing California's innovative clean-tech economy."

The energy efficiency program is paid for by a "public goods surcharge" of $1 to $2 on a residential ratepayer's utility bills. In 1996, AB 1890 directed the state’s three major investor-owned utilities -- Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric -- to collect the funds.

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved energy efficiency funding of $3.1 billion for 2010 through 2012 through the program, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Lifsher says the program collects about $400 million a year.

Lifsher says the program is opposed by business groups such as the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and antitax groups like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Public goods funds pay for a series of energy efficiency programs, including:

  • The Savings by Design program, which is offered by PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, Southern California Gas and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. This program provides incentives for energy efficiency measures in new construction and major renovations.
  • The Statewide Customized Offering for Business, which is offered by PG&E, SCE and SDG&E. The utilities provide incentives for efficient lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration and natural gas equipment as well as for controls, building shell retrofits and demand reduction measures.
  • PG&E, SCE and SDG&E offer rebates for more efficient lighting, HVAC, water heaters, refrigeration, motors and other equipment.
Other services include energy audits, on-bill zero-interest financing of energy efficiency measures up to $250,000 and other programs.

Public goods funds also pay for local government partnerships that seek to aid jurisdictions in implementing energy savings measures in their communities to reduce energy use, greenhouse gas and utility costs.

For instance, SCE says it provides support to more than 100 cities and counties through its Energy Leader Partnership Program. The utility says partnership program helps local governments "identify and address energy efficiency opportunities in municipal facilities, take actions supporting the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan and increase community awareness and participation."

One of those partnerships is Valley Innovative Energy Watch, which includes Tulare County, Kings County, Visalia, Hanford, Woodlake, Lindsay, Tulare and Porterville. The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization serves as implementer for the partnership.

Other California partnerships include the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, the San Gabriel Valley partnership, the Chula Vista partnership and many others.