Apr 6, 2010 3:00 PM  PST

California Energy Commission to Implement Landmark Energy Retrofit Bill

by Elise Hunter
Government Relations Manager
Build It Green

California continues to lead the way in defining the new ‘green economy’ with a bill that will result in comprehensive retrofits to existing residential and nonresidential buildings across the state.  Assembly Bill 758 (AB 758) requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a statewide program to achieve greater energy savings in existing building stock.  Existing buildings represent a vast untapped potential for energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction, since 72% of California’s buildings were constructed prior to any state energy codes.  The Democratic Assembly estimates that the AB 758 program will equate to removing 3 million cars from the road.  Passed in October of last year, this pioneering bill was authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and championed by prominent environmental groups. 
At a CEC business meeting on February 24, energy specialist Bill Pennington announced that the bill will bring about “energy audits and ratings of buildings, […] a portfolio of strategies to accomplish expanded levels of energy efficiency improvements in the buildings, and delivery of multiple approaches to achieve implementation, including financing, public outreach and education, and green work force training.”  The AB 758 program will align with the myriad other energy retrofit programs that are emerging throughout the state, including property-assessed clean energy (PACE) finance districts, workforce training programs, weatherization programs and the new Home Energy Rating System Program for existing homes (HERS II), developed by the CEC.  Utilities, state agencies and local governments are collaborating to integrate these programs to deliver the optimal benefit to homeowners, renters, businesses and builders. 
The energy retrofit gospel is spreading across the country, gaining recognition and coveted funding from the Federal government and individual states alike.  Even President Obama jumped on board, declaring that “insulation is sexy” at a Virginia press conference in December of last year. 

Building energy retrofits can combat climate change while creating much-needed jobs.  Keep on the lookout for new incentives to retrofit your home or business, as well as opportunities to get trained in this valuable skill. 

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