Early May 2023

Reach Code News Brief: Early May 2023

Cost-Effectiveness Explorer Updates: New Data & Functionality

Screenshot of Cost-Effectiveness Explorer

The no-cost online Cost Effectiveness Explorer continues to add new data and functionality for local policymakers. These features encompass policy planning tools and data for both new construction and existing buildings.

For new construction, the Explorer team recently added data from the 2022 Nonresidential New Construction Cost-effectiveness Study and the 2022 Multifamily New Construction Cost-Effectiveness Study, as well as the ability to evaluate policy impact estimates. This enables local staff to examine policy impacts for climate zone, building type, fuel type and more.

For existing buildings, the tool can now assist staff in evaluating the amount of subsidy money each retrofit measure would need to become cost-effective for homes in their community. The Explorer now includes subsidy data that complements the findings of the latest Existing Low-Rise Residential Cost-Effectiveness Study for single family homes and multifamily units. With this data, a user can now identify on a per home basis:

  • The subsidy needed to reduce the cost of any measure to the point where it becomes technically cost-effective
  • The subsidy needed to reach the point where any measure pays for itself in five years

The Explorer can also provide subsidy estimates for homeowners or occupants who meet low-income qualifications and pay lower utility rates.

As always, users can schedule a tour of the Cost Effectiveness Explorer to get individualized assistance or experiment on their own. To join the mailing list for notification of Cost Effectiveness Explorer updates, sign up here.

Upcoming Events

May 4: 3C-REN training: 2022 CALGreen Codes for Residential and Non-Residential

May 10: Energy Commission Monthly Business Meeting

May 10-12: Getting to Zero Forum. Hybrid (Minneapolis and virtual)

May 17-19: CalCCA Annual Conference. San Diego

May 17: 3C-REN training: 2022 Energy Code: Nonresidential

May 17: BayREN Training: 2022 Energy Code Changes – Single Family

May 23-24: Energy Code Ace Training: 2022 Title 24, Part 6 Essentials — Single-family Standards for Architects & Designers

May 24: BayREN Training: 2022 Energy Code Changes – Multifamily

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New This Month!

Amy Dryden

Q&A with Amy Dryden: Implementation Tools to Streamline Reach Code Compliance

Amy Dryden is currently the Director of Strategic Innovations at the Association for Energy Affordability, specializing in research and development and codes and standards initiatives focused on decarbonization and health and electrification.  A green building professional with over 20 years of experience, she works with the building industry to create more sustainable and healthier housing. She has a master’s degree in environmental planning from University of California-Berkeley.

Q: Last month, we took a look at the checklists and other tools for reach code implementation, Amy. Tell us a little about the training resources associated with these tools.

A: As with the set of checklist and forms templates first developed during the last code cycle, the training materials were also developed then to accompany the documents. The same statewide collaborative group—encompassing collaboration from the RENs, CCAs, IOUs, individual jurisdictions, national organizations like Building Decarbonization Coalition, and individual consultants—developed both as well.

The training template is designed to provide a review of current code, accommodate a jurisdiction’s customization of its own new reach code including exceptions and then dive into the compliance forms, with opportunities for hands-on interaction during the training session. For instance, a customized version of the training template might include actual plan reviews relevant to the specific jurisdiction’s building stock for attendees to discuss and work through in order to get a practical understanding of how the compliance process should work.

Q: What kinds of local staff do you typically see in a training session?

A: There may be plan checkers and reviewers, inspectors, chief building officials, or third-party vendors if a local community has outsourced these services to an external provider. Members from the local sustainability team who participated in the development of the ordinances during the adoption process may also attend. Occasionally, there may be staff from multiple departments to gain greater understanding of the new reach code being implemented. It may vary greatly from community to community depending on the local circumstances.

Q: Are these in-person or virtual trainings?

A: They can be either, depending on how the local jurisdiction wants to proceed and who will be providing the training. Often, a local team will organize a training program and download the training modules themselves to customize them. BayREN also provides training sessions on these tools to jurisdictions within its region. In those cases, we will work directly with the team to customize the training specifically for that jurisdiction. For instance, if a jurisdiction has adopted an ordinance focusing on multi-family construction and EV, we will tailor the training materials to the compliance landscape of that community.

Q: When is the best time to conduct this training?

A: There’s really no specific timeframe, although there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind. Ideally, a jurisdiction would wait until the ordinance has been adopted locally to ensure the language is final. This time frame, after adoption and Energy Commission approval (if relevant) is a great time to schedule training for compliance staff. However, some jurisdictions might conduct trainings shortly before the effective date of the new ordinance to prepare; others might schedule trainings after adoption but before the Energy Commission approves the ordinance; others may schedule training after approval and effective date.

Q: Where can we find the training template and get more information?

A: Local staff can download the templates at either the Statewide Reach Codes website here or via Building Decarbonization Coalition’s Clean Building Compass. Bay Area jurisdictions can request a customized reach code training from BayREN here.

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