October 2023

Reach Code News Brief: October 2023

Upcoming New Reach Codes Webinars

Hero graphic for upcoming webinars


On Thursday, October 26, 2023, the statewide Reach Codes team will present draft results for the 2023 updates to the Single Family New Construction Cost-Effectiveness Study.

This study conducted research on the impacts of all measures, with a focus on fuel substitution, using various sources including contractor/distributor interviews, other recent reports, and online research. Presenters will also provide an overview of strategies to structure a policy that requires higher performance for all building designs, strongly encouraging all-electric projects.


Simplified Flexible Path Policymaking with the Cost-Effectiveness Explorer

On Wednesday, November 1, 2023, the Cost-Effectiveness Explorer team will present new capabilities in the free online tool that local jurisdiction staff can use to craft effective flexible path measures more easily.

Flex path measures are a better option than ever for encouraging electrification measures focusing on existing residential buildings. Attendees will review what a flexible path policy is and how it works, as well as walk through the Explorer updates to learn how to to set up a new policy or transition an existing policy to the new format.

Upcoming Events

November 1: Statewide Reach Codes team: Simplified Flexible Path Policymaking with the Cost-Effectiveness Explorer

November 1: CivicWell & City of Grand Junction CO: Planning for EV Readiness and Community Resiliency Efforts

November 1: I-REN webinar: How the Energy Code Treats Electrification

November 5-7: Indian Wells CA: 2023 WateReuse California Annual Conference

November 8: 3C-REN training: Carbon Free Homes: Features, Benefits, Valuation

November 8: California Energy Commission Business Meeting

November 8: I-REN Hybrid Training: 2022 Energy Code Changes – Multi-Family

November 12-15: Sacramento: Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference

November 15: BayREN training: Navigating the Energy Code

November 15: I-REN Training: Unlocking Savings for School Facilities with the Energy Code

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New This Month!

David Freedman headshot

Q & A with David Freedman: Introducing I-REN

David Freedman is Program Manager – Energy & Sustainability at Coachella Valley Association of Governments. His duties include leading the Codes & Standards program at Inland Regional Energy Network and managing Desert Community Energy, the Community Choice Aggregator serving Palm Springs. David was a member of the Palm Springs Sustainability Commission from 2015 to 2023, including terms as Commission Chair and Vice Chair. He has been an active member of the California Reach Codes working group since 2019.

Q: David, tell us a little bit about who I-REN is and what communities it serves.

A: I-REN is the Inland Regional Energy Network, very recently established in late 2021 when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved its business plan. It serves the Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, encompassing 11% of the state’s population.

Q: What is I-REN’s focus?

A: There are three main programs. The first is the Public Sector Program, which offers no-cost energy efficiency support and incentives to all public agencies served by Southern California Edison or Southern California Gas Company in Riverside and San Bernardino counties including cities, school districts, water districts, special districts, and tribes. Our second program is the Workforce Education & Training Program, which brings comprehensive and targeted training to building professionals across the Inland Empire. This program also includes an Energy Fellowship in partnership with the CivicSpark program administered by AmeriCorps and CivicWell. Last but not least, our Codes & Standards Program offers energy and reach code support to building departments as well as code trainings and support for local builders and developers. For instance, our Ask an Energy Code Question offers quick, personalized answers to specific code questions.

Q: Does I-REN have any upcoming trainings?

A: Yes! We have an interactive Events calendar on our website that visitors can browse or click through on a specific event to obtain more details or register for the activity. In November, for instance, we’re offering four events across the month, beginning with a session on November 1 “How the Energy Code Treats Electrification.” Subsequent events focus on code changes for multi-family construction, residential alterations compliance and savings opportunities for schools with the Energy Code.

Q: Can anyone across the state participate in these events, or use the resources on the I-REN website?

A: Yes! The events and resources are available to anyone statewide.

Q: How is I-REN different from the RENs in other parts of California?

A: The first difference is the extreme heat climate across most of our region. It’s not uncommon for average daily temperatures to exceed 100° for six or more months annually. Secondly, hard-to-reach and economically disadvantaged communities make up a substantial percentage of the population in our counties. Both these qualities are important factors in how we have shaped our offerings and our outreach.

Q: What are the next steps for I-REN?

A: So far, we’ve been working closely with our local jurisdictions across both counties to introduce our organization and provide them with an overview of the services we can offer. As we continue this outreach, we look forward to helping our cities and counties, other agencies and tribes identify specific public projects where we can offer financial and technical assistance in energy efficiency improvements. We’ve also been going to regional career fairs to introduce our Workforce Education & Training Program as well as the Energy Fellowship opportunity.

We encourage local jurisdiction staff across our region and beyond to sign up for our mailing list to receive notifications about upcoming events!

Opening frame of CABEC presentation on Reach Codes and Existing Buildings

Reach Codes Team Presents at Annual CABEC Conference

Alea German, Senior Engineering Manager, Frontier Energy, and Misti Bruceri, Program Coordinator for the Statewide Reach Codes Team presented a session on Reach Codes and Existing Buildings at the recent CABEC Annual Conference, held October 10-12 in Cambria, California.

After a brief review of general reach code adoption trends statewide, the presenters turned to an examination of existing building reach code policy making.

They reviewed four general approaches to existing building measure structures and offered specific jurisdiction examples of each:

  • Equipment replacement or as part of a larger project scope
  • At the time of listing/sale
  • Date certain
    • Requirements tied to business activities (Boulder)
    • Building performance standards (Chula Vista)

They reviewed an update to the cost-effectiveness analyses for existing single-family homes that incorporates new data regarding equipment and installation costs, changes to utility rates and tariffs, and impacts of the Net Billing Tariff (NEM3). The Statewide team anticipates publishing this updated study within the next month or so.

Using HPWH as an example, presenters dove into the details of the analysis results and the impacts of the changes before exploring different considerations local jurisdictions might evaluate in developing an existing building reach code.

In conclusion, the presenting team offered some key takeaways that local jurisdiction staff might find of particular importance. First, while there is a wide spectrum of options for ordinance design and stringency, it is critical to keep in mind local conditions, such as the vintages of existing building stock, climate, local economy, and the type of construction activities. Secondly, it can be vital to evaluate exceptions or to address economic or technical/logistical infeasibility, create consensus, and incentivize compliance.

To obtain a copy of the presentation, contact Misti Bruceri at info@localenergycodes.com.

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This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E®) and Southern California Edison Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission and in support of the California Energy Commission.

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