For most working professionals, time is their most precious resource. Staying on top of changes to state energy policy and building codes is not a top priority for most business owners. One of the most important benefits a trade organization can provide for its members is advocating, on their behalf, in policy discussions.
At Efficiency First California (EFCA), we believe it is our responsibility to ensure the contractor’s perspective is a factor in legislative decisions. We actively participate in policy discussions and provide written comments to ensure the contractor’s voice is present.
It takes a village
Working alone to change policy can be a difficult task. We have learned that successful advocacy involves partnering with other like-minded organizations to achieve a common good. We openly share information with other industry stakeholders. Our collaborative approach to advocacy has allowed us to influence policy on a larger scale than we could achieve on our own.
Advocacy is critical in times of change
The California legislature has enacted aggressive climate goals. We are in the midst of an energy transition, away from fossil fuels and towards renewables and zero-carbon sources. For example, Senate Bill (SB) 100 requires that renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent of retail electric sales by 2045. Transitions of this scale will require new policies and regulations to encourage adoption.
We are participating in multiple policy discussions to ensure contractors will support this transition and flourish.
Recent efforts and achievements
For years we have been at the table with lawmakers to represent the contractor’s perspective. Many of these efforts are long term efforts, this is our role, and we take it seriously.
The world is experiencing an energy transition. We can’t rely on fossil fuels for our primary heating and cooling needs as a long-term solution. Heating loads in buildings are responsible for over 25 percent of GHG emissions in California.
The transition to zero-carbon electricity will require significant changes to our state’s energy policies. Much of our current advocacy work is related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
Here is a list of some of our recent efforts:
- Changing the metrics of the “Three-Prong Test.” - The test is used by the state to determine the cost-effectiveness of Energy Efficiency (EE) projects. The three-prong test requirements effectively eliminated rebates for fuel substitution projects. We worked collaboratively with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to change this regulation’s language. After a three-year battle, we achieved success. The result is contractors can now replace fossil fuel appliances (furnaces) with high efficiency, lo-carbon electric options such as electric heat pumps.
- Assembly Bill (AB) 3232, Low-carbon buildings - We supported this legislation, which sets the stage for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in residential buildings. The target is to achieve a 40 percent reduction of GHG emissions by 2030.
- Senate Bill (SB) 100, Clean electricity - We supported SB 100, which ups the requirements of previous efforts and requires renewable energy and zero-carbon resources for 100 percent of electrical sales by 2045.
- Senate Bill (SB) 1477, Low-emissions buildings and heat sources - Water heating and space heating with fossil fuels produce significant GHG emissions. We testified, in-person, to the Senate in support of this legislation. The bill contains two incentive programs, with $200M in funding over four years. The (BUILD) program requires heat-pump technology for new construction. The (TECH) program supports the development of new heat-pump technologies.