Here are some examples of past and current projects for our clients, which show off our capabilities in the energy efficiency space.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
Residential Space and Water Heating Electrification-Measurement, Verification and Market Characterization Study
The purpose of this project is to conduct a baseline study of gas and electric energy use for space and water heating, and measurement and verification of energy savings and increased electric usage for gas-to-electric conversion of space and water heating equipment installed through SMUD’s 2018-2019 incentive programs. Benningfield group is working as a subcontractor under DNV-GL to conduct field surveys of residential buildings and phone interviews of multifamily customers for the study. Data is collected through program participant site visits, including the installation of monitoring equipment to measure power usage of heat pump space and water heating units. Benningfield Group is also working with DNV-GL to develop the survey and data collection instruments and assist in the analysis of the results.
Smart Homes Program
The Smart Homes Program encourages home builders to construct all-electric and all-electric ready new homes. Efficient, electric technologies such as heat pump water heaters, heat pump space heaters, and induction cooktops allow customers to take greater advantage of the renewable energy economy and qualify for an incentive.
The program is open to new single family and multifamily homes. In addition to financial incentives, Smart Homes offers technical assistance to builders to help with code compliance and marketing materials that builders and their salespeople can use to explain the benefits of all-electric homes to prospective homebuyers. Benningfield Group is working as a subcontractor to TRC to perform desktop plan reviews for submitted projects, inspection of a portion of projects post-installation for compliance, and inspection of projects under construction to report on construction status.
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)
On-Demand Efficiency Program (ODE)
Many multifamily buildings rely on central hot water systems serviced by inefficient, continuously running pumps, wasting gas, increasing electricity usage and reducing the life of the entire water distribution system. Recognizing the significant savings opportunity, Benningfield Group designed a program for the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) called On-Demand Efficiency (ODE) that was free to qualifying SoCalGas customers.
This no-cost program for multifamily building customers in the SoCalGas service territory installed an ODE controller to regulate the recirculation pump on the central water heating system. It reduced the pump operating time from 24 hours a day to as little as six hours a day and still provided the same hot water experience to building occupants. The ODE program installed controllers to over 170,000 dwelling units in over 4,600 apartment communities, saving over 4 million therms throughout the SoCalGas territory.
Benningfield Group worked with manufacturers, distributors, and contractors throughout the SoCalGas territory to administer the program. We also created web–based software that allowed us to track status, create reports, monitor inspections, and store data relating to program sites and gas savings, ensuring that quality and efficiency were conducted at every stage of the program. A similar program was conducted for campus housing in the territory.
California Solar Initiative (CSI) Thermal Program
The purpose of this program was to manage and provide a report to determine both the cost-effectiveness of the CSI Thermal Program and the program’s effectiveness in achieving program goals. The three main tasks necessary to successfully complete this project included developing the Cost Effectiveness report for 2010-2019, compiling/processing/assessing system cost and budget data, and compiling/processing/assessing information to determine program goals as noted in AB797. Benningfield Group partnered with Itron as a subcontractor to assist in conducting surveys of various program stakeholders to determine whether the goals of AB 797 have been met.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP)
PG&E’s NSHP program was a part of the California Solar Initiative, a comprehensive statewide solar program that provided support and financial incentives to encourage residential builders to build new, energy efficient solar homes. The Certified Energy Plans Examiner credentialed staff at Benningfield Group completed plan check reviews of program applications for multifamily buildings and reported the results, including whether each application was accepted, rejected or suspended.
Southern California Edison
Statewide Utility Compliance Improvement Efforts – Certified Energy Analyst (CEA) Exam Development and Deployment
The purpose of the CEA Exam project was to provide a pathway to improved skills, knowledge, and performance for those who create models, predict energy use under code constraints, and document compliance with the energy code. Benningfield Group coordinated a team of subject matter experts, educational designers, psychometricians and stakeholders to develop and maintain a pool of multiple choice and modeling exam questions that were extensively tested for performance and technical accuracy. Benningfield Group also led the team that administered the exams, including selecting test sites, analyzing exam results, monitoring overall exam and individual item performance, and updating test items as necessary. The exam was tailored to the specific roles and required knowledge and experience of energy consultants who help the building industry meet and exceed the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards.
Automatic Energy Review for Schools
This program provided energy review for all schools processed through the Division of the State Architect for construction or modernization in Southern California Edison territory. The review of the Construction Documents submitted offered limited but strategic opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Feasibility was coordinated with the architect and their design consultants. Formal comments were timed with plan review comments from DSA staff to provide a coordinated window of opportunity to make minor changes to schedules and specifications that improved efficiency. Participant districts were provided an incentive to cover some of the costs.
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) / San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) / Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)
Multifamily Boiler Market Study
The purpose of this natural gas multifamily boiler study, sponsored by SoCalGas, SDG&E, and PG&E, was to create a market assessment for boilers, including boiler add-ons (i.e. controls and economizers) for the residential multifamily market in California. This project was paramount in understanding the current landscape of natural gas boilers, the characteristics of the multifamily housing market in California, and identifying potential energy savings for these dwellings. Benningfield Group partnered with The Cadmus Group as their primary subcontractor and subject matter expert to assist in the market assessment of natural gas boilers for the multifamily market in California. Benningfield Group also conducted on-site assessments of boiler equipment and surveys of maintenance staff regarding boiler operations.
State of California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC)
California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC) Quality Control Reviews
Benningfield Group performs quality control reviews for California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC) submissions to ensure compliance with standards and sustainable building methods, as identified in California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) program rules and regulations. This program is for multifamily developments that are awarded federal and state low income housing tax credits in California. Utilizing the CUAC, which provides a more accurate utility estimate for newer properties, can provide property owners with increased cash flow.
Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN)
Code Compliance Improvement Technical Support
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 supported the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and consulting firm Frontier Energy (formerly BKi) as a subcontractor on the project, implementing in-field and technical support.
Our work for BayREN consisted of:
- assisting jurisdictions to ensure compliance.
- determining (through primary research) the key challenges to enforcing training, identifying tools and guides that would benefit each county, and then tracking their effectiveness as they were implemented.
- developing several training programs (through primary research) that addresses gaps in understanding the energy code and its enforcement.
California Energy Commission
Appliance Market Surveys
We performed appliance services for more than 6 years to the CEC to help them assess the extent of compliance with the Appliance Efficiency Regulations. Benningfield Group performed catalog, field and internet surveys to obtain data on the regulated appliances that are being offered for sale in the state of California. Surveyors collected data and cross-referenced it with the Energy Commission Appliance Database (Database) to assess the frequency of compliance with Title 20 Appliance Efficiency certification requirements. If a particular model was listed in the Database, it was considered to be compliant. If it was not listed, it was non-compliant. This effort informed programs sponsored by the CEC to help improve compliance.