News - Advocacy

It’s Time to Stop Using Fire in Our Homes

At some point in time man gained control over fire. Fire was very useful: it could be used to cook food, provide light, and its heat allowed us to survive in hostile environments.

Thousands of years later, some things haven’t changed much. Whether we have a natural gas or propane furnace or (in some parts of the country) an oil fired boiler, most of us still rely on fire in some form to heat our homes and our water. Many of us use open flames for cooking as well: the gas cooktop is a favorite of many culinary experts.

Good Intentions, Poor Results

The energy efficiency industry in California is tangled with regulation.

Without a doubt, there are many policies that have been successful. California’s strict building codes have reduced energy use per capita and are responsible for eliminating the need to build 15-20 new power plants over the last 30 years. This is a great result and job well done.

But there are also plenty of cases where regulations that aren’t enforced actually end up penalizing those who play by the rules. It’s time to rethink our approach so we can level the playing field and get the good results we all agree are needed.

Building a Clean Energy Future, Respect for the People Who Will Build It

You don’t need to spend a great of time deal in the policy world before you hear a conversation about workforce development. In fact, the Energy Upgrade California incentive program was originally created as a workforce development solution. Flashback to 2008, the Great Recession: contractors were out of work and the economy was in a downward spiral. The incoming Obama administration designed a program to stimulate the economy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law February of 2009 and was intended to save existing jobs and create new ones. Lots of ARRA funds flowed into the energy efficiency industry and hopes were bright.

When Simpler is Better: Choosing the Right Home Efficiency Rating for Point of Sale Comparisons

Posted in: Advocacy, Gabe Lieb

As the market for energy efficient buildings has grown, so has the need to measure and rate the effectiveness of upgrades and new home efficiency measures. Regulators, programs, and industry groups have come up with a number of rating systems to help inspect, calculate and compare a home’s energy performance. 

Over the years, these models have become more and more complicated. The industry standard measure, Home Energy Rating System (HERS)—Whole House, not Compliance—currently requires hundreds of extremely detailed data points that use very expensive and sophisticated test equipment and it must be completed by a certified HERS whole home energy rater.

The Perfect Solution, and Why it is Not Working

Recently, California has made great progress in setting and charting a course toward ambitious energy and climate goals. There is, however, one huge regulatory and political roadblock that’s creating a barrier to achieving greater savings by blocking one of our most promising technologies: heat pumps.

What Trump Does Not Know About Energy Efficiency

There is no question that the recent election results were a shock to the nation. The voters sent a message: we want change. There is no doubt things will change, but when and how much is yet to be determined.

4 Ways Residential Pay-For-Performance Will Change The Market

PG&E has sent out a request for proposals (RFP) to create a residential pay-for-performance (P4P) pilot incentive program for energy efficiency. Given the frequent changes and updates in efficiency rebate programs over the years, it could be tempting to easily dismiss this as just more of the same. In reality though, this new pilot is much more significant than you might realize. If you’re a contractor you need to pay attention--because this pilot could mark a real turning point for the industry.

6 Ways Recent California Legislation Will Change Home Performance

As a contractor it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day operations and not give much thought to rebate programs other than what paperwork is currently required. For better or worse, these programs have become a fact of life. However, there are some real and significant changes happening in the energy efficiency industry today that have the potential to dramatically affect your business.

Why Should You Support Your Trade Organization

We are in a push to build membership. Recently I stopped to ask myself what is the message we need to send in order to get folks to join? To answer the question I stepped back and asked myself “world how did I get here?” to quote the Talking Heads. Specifically, what was the path I had followed and how did I find myself in my current position as Executive Director of Efficiency First California.

The Challenges of Energy Efficiency Advocacy

As a trade organization, there is a reasonable expectation that we will be involved in Advocacy efforts as a part of our commitment to our members. In our world, the things happening in Washington that affect the entire country are covered by Efficiency First National. Currently, these include Federal tax credits, the Clean Power Plan, and new OSHA regulations. For policies that are California specific we, Efficiency First California, are the responsible party.