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Energy Efficiency & Conservation
Updated January 2013

Sustainability Best Practice Area

Activities and policies to conserve energy and use it more efficiently in agency facilities and the community save natural resources and money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Agency

Audits & Assessment

  • Audit energy use of agency buildings to identify opportunities for energy savings through efficiency and conservation measures.
  • Use energy management software to monitor real-time energy use in agency buildings to identify energy usage patterns and abnormalities.
  • Conduct commissioning and retro-commissioning studies of major agency buildings, including equipment such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting systems, to ensure they are operating as designed and installed.
  • Benchmark energy use of major agency buildings.

Internal Policies and Procedure

  • Establish an energy efficiency and conservation policy that provides employees with behavioral guidelines for energy efficient practices in the facility such as turning lights, copiers and computers off, appropriate thermostat use, etc.
  • Establish energy efficiency and conservation protocols for building custodial and cleaning services and other contract employees.
  • Adopt and implement a policy to reduce “plug” load in agency facilities by removing personal equipment such as desk lamps and space heaters or installing smart power strips.
  • Implement a network cloud-computer system to reduce computer work station energy use.
  • Incorporate energy efficiency features in agency data centers, such as through implementation of an information technology energy efficiency program.
  • Adopt Energy Star purchasing standards for all new computer equipment, appliances and equipment.
  • Require new agency buildings to exceed Title 24, California’s energy efficiency building standard.
  • Require agency new construction to be net zero energy.
  • Implement off-peak scheduling of pumps, motors, and other energy intensive machinery where possible.
  • Implement a revolving loan fund or other mechanism to finance future energy investments in agency buildings and operations.
  • Work with energy provider to access technical assistance and financial incentives, such as facility audits, rebates, on-bill financing, loans, savings-by-design and demand management programs.
  • Train agency building inspectors to understand and enforce Title 24, California’s energy efficiency building standard.
  • Develop and implement shading requirements for agency buildings and other facilities.
  • Require agency funded or supported affordable housing projects to incorporate energy efficiency features, equipment and appliances or to exceed Title 24, California’s energy efficiency building standard.
  • Prepare and implement an Energy Action Plan for agency facilities.
  • Participate in the voluntary sustainability and climate change recognition program, “The Beacon Award: Local Leadership toward Solving Climate Change” to receive recognition for energy efficiency savings and greenhouse gas reduction accomplishments (www.ca-ilg.org/BeaconAward).

Retrofits and Upgrades

  • Develop and implement a schedule to address no cost/low cost energy retrofit projects.
  • Develop and implement a schedule to address capital intensive energy retrofit projects.
  • Reduce energy demand by capturing “day lighting” opportunities.
  • Install motion sensors, photocells, and multi-level switches to control room lighting systems.
  • Replace incandescent lights with more energy efficient lighting, such as compact fluorescents, overhead fluorescent lights or light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
  • Upgrade exit signs with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.
  • Add vending misers to cold beverage machines.
  • Upgrade pumps, motors and other energy intensive machinery where feasible.
  • Replace agency appliances and equipment, such as vending machines, refrigerators, and washing machines, with energy efficient models.
  • Replace agency natural gas fueled appliances and equipment, such as boilers, stoves, water heaters, with high efficiency units.
  • Replace and/or tint windows in agency-owned buildings to reduce space heating by sunlight.
  • Install cool roof systems on existing and new agency buildings.
  • Install smart meters on agency buildings.

Outside Lighting 

  • Use “de-lamping” techniques to reduce lighting levels at parks, sports fields and parking lots, where appropriate for the location and use, considering security and decorative lighting issues.
  • Change downtown holiday or decorative lighting to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or other energy efficient lighting systems.
  • Replace incandescent traffic and crosswalk lights with energy-efficient lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
  • Replace incandescent and mercury vapor street, parking lot, park and other outdoor lights with energy efficient alternatives, such as light-emitting diodes (LED) or induction systems, as appropriate.

Community

Working with Local Businesses

  • Encourage community businesses to conduct energy audits and implement energy efficiency retrofits through activities such as energy efficiency workshops, energy fairs, agency websites and social media.
  • Encourage businesses to install energy efficient exterior lighting that is appropriate for the location and use, considering security and decorative lighting issues.
  • Collaborate with local retail businesses to encourage businesses to purchase energy efficient products.
  • Promote and reward energy efficiency efforts of local retail businesses.
  • Adopt an energy financing program, such as through a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing district, to help businesses install energy efficiency retrofits in existing residential and commercial buildings.
  • Require energy audits and/or retrofits for commercial properties at time of sale.
  • Require new commercial buildings to exceed Title 24, California’s energy efficiency standard, to the extent permitted by law.
  • Require new commercial construction to be net zero energy.

Working with Homeowners and Apartment Owners

  • Provide information about Energy Upgrade California to help homeowners increase energy efficiency.
  • Provide rebates or other financial incentives to help residents pay for whole house retrofits.
  • Sponsor a home energy makeover contest that includes energy efficient audit and improvements as prizes.
  • Adopt an energy financing program, such as through a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing district, to help homeowners install energy efficiency retrofits in existing residential buildings.
  • Require energy audits and/or retrofits at time of sale for residential properties.
  • Require energy audits and/or retrofits at time of residential remodeling or renovation projects.
  • Require new residential buildings to exceed Title 24, California’s energy efficiency standard, to the extent permitted by law.
  • Require new residential construction to be net zero energy.

Working with Energy Providers

  • Work with energy provider to encourage local businesses to implement energy efficiency strategies and retrofits.
  • Work with energy provider to provide information to homeowners and businesses about available utility rebates for new residential and commercial buildings that exceed Title 24, California’s the energy code, by 15 percent or more.
  • Work with energy provider to promote use of utility financial incentives to assist residential and commercial customers improve energy efficiency, such as by using on-bill financing, loans and rebates and demand management programs, as appropriate for the customer.

Engaging the Community

  • Host/support compact fluorescent light bulb, LED give-away or incandescent bulb exchange programs.
  • Collaborate with schools and colleges to co-sponsor students to conduct energy audits and/or retrofits for agency buildings, businesses or homeowners.
  • Upgrade foreclosed homes in the community with energy efficiency measures and solar photovoltaic or hot water systems.
  • Prepare and monitor progress of implementing Energy Action Plan to reduce energy use in the community.
The Institute gratefully acknowledges the following individuals who reviewed this best practice area and offered their comments:
  • Aaron Klemm, Energy Project Manager, City of Huntington Beach
  • Jillian Rich, Program Manager, Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Tenaya Asan, Green Point Rated Program Manager, Build it Green
  • Becky Estrella, Program Manager, Sempra Energy

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