Energy Efficiency Programs

Our work includes helping utilities help their customers save energy. Our extensive knowledge of building systems and efficiency opportunities allows us to collaborate with others to build better, more comfortable buildings that are both cost and energy efficient. Our services include program design and implementation, energy efficiency training, creation of online and portable design tools, project design analysis and assistance, development of data tracking tools for energy savings verification.

Example Projects

On Demand Efficiency for Campus Housing

Many campus dorms rely on central hot water systems serviced by inefficient, continuously running pumps, wasting gas, increasing energy usage and reducing the life of the entire water distribution system.  Recognizing the significant savings opportunity, SoCalGas® designed a program called On Demand Efficiency for Campus Housing (ODECH) that is FREE to qualifying Southern California Gas Company customers.

The program provides a free on-demand recirculation pump control for the dorm’s water heating system as well as free installation. After the pump control is installed, recirculation is controlled based on demand in the dorm, rather than continuous recirculation. Students are able to access hot water just as easily as if the system were running all day, every day. Depending upon the size of the building and the number of dorm rooms, the gas and electrical savings can be considerable. The controller even helps reduce greenhouse gases. The ODECH program has served several housing communities including UC Irvine and UC Riverside. So far, 42 campus buildings, equaling over 4,334 dorm rooms have received the upgrade.

The Benningfield Group works with manufacturers, distributors and contractors throughout the SoCalGas® territory to administer the program. We also created a custom, online tracking database that allows us to track status, create reports, monitor inspections and store data relating to program sites and gas savings, ensuring that quality and efficiency are conducted at every stage of the program.  The colleges who have taken advantage of the ODECH program have reported considerable savings since beginning the program.

For more information about the program or an application click here.

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On Demand Efficiency

Many multifamily buildings rely on central hot water systems serviced by inefficient, continuously running pumps, wasting gas, increasing electrical usage and reducing the life of the entire water distribution system.  Recognizing the significant savings opportunity, Benningfield Group designed a program for SoCalGas® called On Demand Efficiency (ODE) that is FREE to qualifying Southern California Gas Company customers.

The program provides a free on-demand recirculation pump control for the building’s water heating system as well as free installation. After the pump control is installed, recirculation is controlled based on demand in the building, rather than continuous recirculation. Residents are able to access hot water just as easily as if the system were running all day, every day. Depending upon the size of the building and the number of units, the gas and electrical savings can be considerable. Use of the controller also helps reduce greenhouse gases. So far, the ODE program has served over 3,000 apartment complexes with more than 97,000 individual units.

The Benningfield Group works with manufacturers, distributors and contractors throughout the SoCalGas® territory to administer the program. We also created a custom, online tracking database that allows us to track status, create reports, monitor inspections and store data relating to program sites and gas savings, ensuring that quality and efficiency are conducted at every stage of the program.  Those who have taken advantage of the ODE program have reported excellent results. In a follow up-survey, 92 percent of building owners rated the program a four or five out of five.

For more information about the program or to submit an application click here.

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SMUD Home Performance Program

The SMUD Home Performance Program (HPP) is administered by Efficiency First California and provides incentives to encourage Sacramento-area homeowners to install energy efficient upgrades on their homes. To qualify for HPP rebates homeowners must work with a qualified program contractor who can assess and install these improvements.

The Benningfield Group supports the Home Performance Program by serving as the local link for training, support and in office mentoring to contractors in the SMUD territory.

Our relationship with participating contractors begins with education. During our in-office mentoring sessions, we meet with contractors to discuss industry best practices, address quality assurance issues and inform them of any new or upcoming program changes. We also coach contractors on how to integrate home performance into their sales processes and business models. Plus, we produce best practice guides for quick reference in the field.

Then, on a monthly basis, we make sure each program contractor has maintained his or her proper licensing and has remained in good standing with the California State Licensing Board.

Our assistance to SMUD and Efficiency First California goes beyond our work with the contractors. We also help identify and research new energy saving measures that could be added to the program, as well as provide technical support whenever it’s needed. Always on the cutting edge, we consistently look for ways to save energy, saving you money and time.

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BayREN Codes and Standards

The BayREN Codes and Standards program helps Bay Area counties reduce their energy usage through improved building design and construction. The collaborative program supplies local governments with the resources they need to achieve full compliance with and enforce the California Energy Code, including best practice guides, checklists, policy support, targeted training and on-site support. Benningfield Group supports the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and consulting firm BKI as a subcontractor on the project, implementing in-field and technical support.

At the start of the project, our team focused on finding ways to help jurisdictions ensure compliance. We spent hours conducting interviews, participating in ride-alongs and reviewing project plans in an effort to determine both the key challenges to enforcing the energy code training, tools and guides that would benefit each county, then tracked their effectiveness as they were implemented.

To ensure the performance of the program’s training offerings, we also conducted a region-wide survey, looking for gaps in understanding of the energy code and its enforcement. From this information, we worked with BayREN to develop several training programs that would address these specific issue areas.

Our current focus is on the development and delivery of BayREN’s extensive building department training program, with a focus on developing new classes, best practice guides and over-the-counter permit guides that focus on ease of use with minimal intrusion. These include training in niche areas requested by participating counties.

We are also currently developing ePermitting Guides, which are electronic, online versions of our printed over-the-counter permit guides. They are designed to be user friendly for enforcement personnel, installers, as well as the general public.  We will continue to bring cutting edge support to the team and BayREN as they continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the communities being served.

 

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TCAC Sustainability Guidelines

Benningfield Group leads an advisory group of experts that makes recommendations to the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) on minimum construction standards and competitive scoring criteria for energy efficiency and other sustainable building measures (SBMs). These recommendations support TCAC’s annual update of regulations regarding the allocation of State and Federal low income housing tax credits. According to a TCAC-issued report, a conservative estimate of the annual impact of the SBMs for projects begun in the period of 2011-13 is just under 300,000,000,000 Btus/yr. That is roughly equivalent to the amount of energy that 3800 apartments would use annually.

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PG&E Pricing Survey

The contention that increased construction costs have led to, and are leading to increased new home prices that effectively make homes more unaffordable to Californians has been offered as a reason to stop advancing the State’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards – Title 24, Part 6 (“Energy Standards”). Benningfield Group leads this study to explore how strong the relationship is between the cost of inputs to new home construction (e.g., labor, lumber, cement, windows) and the prices for which new homes sell. The intent is to compare trends in the cost of inputs over time to the trends in new home sale prices.

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Appliance Standards Compliance Survey

Benningfield Group conducts surveys of new appliances sold or offered for sale in California in retail and wholesale outlets, through catalogs, and via the internet. The purpose of the survey is to assess the extent of compliance with the Regulations. The results of the market surveys will enable the California Energy Commission to focus its enforcement efforts on; (1) those regulated appliance types for which the most non-compliance occurs; and (2) those market participants who are most non-compliant.

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