California has set some of the most aggressive climate goals in the world including the goal to slash the state’s overall emissions to zero by 2045. In support of this goal the state has mandated that 100% of its electricity come from renewable resources by 2045 while moving towards the decarbonization of buildings. California has set the following ambitions goals for the development of net zero buildings:
- All new residential construction will be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020
- All new commercial construction will be ZNE by 2030
- 50% of commercial buildings will be retrofit to ZNE by 2030
- 50% of new major renovations of state buildings will be ZNE by 2025
In an effort to implement these targets, while also ensuring social energy equity, the California Energy Commission has awarded a $7.2M Energy Program Investment Charge (EPIC) grant to an ambitious set of partners, led by Rocky Mountain Institute’s REALIZE initiative, to operationalize a market facilitation platform based upon the Energiesprong model. The team consists of the Association for Energy Affordability, California Housing Partnership Corporation, University of California Davis, San Francisco Department of Environment, Stone Energy Associates, Prospect Silicon Valley, Integral Group and David Baker Architecture and will be mentored by the Energiesprong team.
REALIZE, a Rocky Mountain Institute initiative, is focused on adapting and scaling the Energiesprong model across the United States. REALIZE seeks to enable the design and rapid delivery of affordable, integrated, zero emissions retrofit packages. The program will develop and demonstrate such standardized packages, while operationalizing a market facilitation platform to scale the adoption, development, and delivery of zero emissions retrofits across the California market, even beyond the award period.
Through the $7.2 million EPIC grant, plus roughly $6 million in Low Income Weatherization Program funds, the project will enable 300,000 square feet of demonstration projects for disadvantaged communities across the state while mobilizing buildings owners and organizing the California manufacturing, energy services, and contractor markets to provide zero-emissions retrofits at scale.
Demonstrations will also be sited across various climate zones and will ensure they offer the potential to transform the state’s most common building typologies, starting with affordable multifamily buildings in disadvantaged communities. The program will unlock the market to innovate productized and mass manufactured “Integrated Zero Emissions Retrofit Packages” to transform the state’s over 420,000 low-income housing units, and ultimately the 13.5 million single-family and multifamily housing units in California. The project will precipitate roughly $7.7 billion in utility cost reductions for Californian’s by 2030, 8.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions, and nearly 69 billion gallons of water savings.
The project will:
- Standardize zero emissions retrofits to double energy efficiency in existing buildings by 2030.
- Address financial barriers including reducing costs by 50% while increasing capital access to 100% of installed energy measures.
- Develop and deploy a scalable business model to generate owner demand and motivation to facilitate mass adoption.