California Adopts a Long-Term Energy Efficiency Plan
September 24, 2008
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a long-term energy efficiency strategy on September 18 that aligns well with DOE's goals for zero-energy buildings. California's new "Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan" includes two "Big Bold" strategies for significant energy efficiency gains in new buildings: to have all residential buildings achieve zero net energy use by 2020, and to have all commercial buildings achieve zero net energy use by 2030. In comparison, DOE's Building Technologies Program aims to achieve marketable zero energy homes by 2020 and zero energy commercial buildings by 2025. California's plan also goes a bit farther, with two more stretch goals: to reshape the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning industry to ensure optimal building performance and to weatherize all the homes of eligible low-income families by 2020. See the CPUC press release and the Building Technologies Program's Zero Energy Goals.
California's new plan focuses on energy efficiency goals for electricity and natural gas consumption, with targeted efforts for residential and commercial buildings, industries, and farms. The industrial effort hinges mainly on the development of a national certification program for energy-efficient industrial plants, with the goal of achieving a 25% reduction in industrial energy intensity by 2020, while the agricultural effort intends to achieve a 15% reduction in fossil-fuel energy intensity by 2020. The strategic plan also recognizes that energy efficiency programs should include efforts to commercialize emerging technologies, to provide technical assistance to users and sellers of the technologies, to educate and inform people about energy efficiency opportunities, to mandate minimum energy efficiency codes and standards, and to offer incentives to consumers. See the full plan on the California Energy Efficiency Web site.