California has ambitious goals to make our existing buildings more energy efficient, through improvements such as wall and ceiling insulation and efficient appliances and fixtures. We simply cannot meet our long-term climate goals without more progress on this front.
But these smart investments require upfront money, and it’s not clear yet how the state can make easy financing available. As SB 350 (De Leon, 2015) requires California to double the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 2030, large-scale private sector investment will be critical to financing these energy retrofits.
Join UC Berkeley and UCLA Law for an evening event at UC Berkeley Law on Thursday, September 21st, from 5-7pm to discuss these issues:
Keynote Address: Commissioner Andrew McAllister, California Energy Commission
- Carmen Best, Independent Energy Efficiency Advisor & former California Public Utilities Commission supervisor
- Cisco DeVries, Founder and CEO, Renew Financial Group LLC
- Jon Wellinghoff, former chair of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Following up on our 2016 report from the two law schools, Powering the Savings, these speakers will focus on what metering technologies and new policies will be needed to unlock this large-scale financing. We’ll cover recent innovations, new policies, and promising success stories on metered energy efficiency that the state can build on to achieve these ambitious and necessary climate and energy goals.
Sounds like a good idea to me:
Enerscore wants to be the equivalent of Walk Score, which estimates how walkable a home is relative to local services. For any address you type in, Enerscore serves up a color-coded rating, an estimate for annual energy usage, and a link to its site where you can get a breakdown for electricity, heating, and so on. The startup wants to build up its service so one of the big real estate sites, like Zillow or Trulia, will eventually incorporate it.
When we tried the demo, it was a little buggy. But Butler assures us the service will be ready when it launches fully in August. The startup makes its estimates based on public records showing construction dates, square footage, types of heating and cooling system, and so on. That means the ratings are approximations only. But one study from Chicago showed that a similar method could be accurate to within 10% of the real value.
Countries that have set up energy efficiency rating systems have found they can affect house prices fairly dramatically. One program from France, for example, showed 25% to 30% increases and decreases in home value after a color-coding program was introduced.
The challenge with this service will be accuracy. People will be upset if they get a bad score that is not accurate. If it negatively affects home prices, you may even see litigation threats. But if they can do a good job, this company’s founders could be onto something very significant for encouraging energy retrofits.