Monday, November 16, 2015

BOMA California Advocacy Update: Lighting Control Reforms Adopted & Benchmarking Law Hearing Held - AB 802

Lighting Control Reforms Adopted 

After almost a year of working with the California Energy Commission (CEC), Docket No. 15-BSTD-01 was adopted to address issues related to the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Lighting Retrofit Code.

As California’s energy code has lead the way in the nation making sure that our buildings are the most efficient in the country, from time-to-time regulations may not work out in the real world as they do on paper. Even with thorough analysis and an inclusive stakeholder process, the lighting retrofit requirements in question have turned out to be more complicated and burdensome to implement than expected when the CEC adopted the package.

On behalf of the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry we worked with the CEC and other stakeholders on regulatory language that will still achieve the same, if not greater, energy savings by providing an alternative path to compliance, which will bring down the cost and complication of compliance in some instances and assure that fewer tenant improvements are stalled due to a cost effectiveness concerns.

BOMA California members thank the CEC and its staff for working through to a fix on this issue.

Here is part of a press release they sent on this topic:
The Energy Commission adopted nonresidential lighting standards that allow for several cost effective approaches to lighting upgrades. Compared to the 2013 lighting alteration standards, the newly adopted standards are expected to save an additional 112 gigawatt hours of electricity per year – equivalent to the annual electricity use in about 16,000 homes. Energy efficiency building standards are updated every three years. These nonresidential lighting standards are part of the broader 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards adopted in June.
Click here to read the new language and see the presentation.

Benchmarking Law Hearing Held - AB 802

AB 802, the bill that repeals AB 1103 and re-calibrates the regulatory process and addresses a number of complaints our industry has had about since AB 1103 was in the Legislature has already been reviewed at the California Energy Commission.

The regulations on this are on the fast-track because the CEC has already invested too much time and effort on AB 1103, many stakeholders, commission staff, and commissioners are all on the same page moving forward.

So far, representatives for the commercial, industrial, and retail commercial real estate industry are pleased with the direction of the discussion. Click here for a copy of the AB 802 scoping workshop presentation.

As a reminder, here is what has changed moving from the now repealed AB 1103 regulations:
  • AB 1103 mandated ALL buildings must be benchmarked regardless of size or use; AB 802 states that buildings 50K s.f. and above must be benchmarked and allows the Energy Commission some discretion to exempt certain building types and situations (i.e. the CEC could decide that long-term empty buildings or buildings scheduled for razing need not be benchmarked).
  • AB 1103 was a transaction based program – benchmarking was triggered by a sale/lease of whole building/refinance. The transaction based approach had many unintended consequences such as requiring actively managed building to be benchmarked more often than buildings that are not; put an unnecessary technical process in the middle of a real estate transaction; and required benchmarking be provided to parties that were not making management decisions (i.e. lenders); AB 802 allows the CEC to determine the best trigger for benchmarking – that could be transaction based or time certain, i.e.,  once every two years.
  • Under AB 1103 many building owners were unable to get tenant energy information from local utilities; AB 802 clarifies that utilities are required to provide information; in an aggregated format if there are privacy concerns in multi-tenant buildings.
  • AB 1103 treated income producing properties separately by only focusing on commercial; AB 802 – with the support of the Apartment industry - includes certain multi-family housing properties.
  • AB 1103 provisions will be suspended as of the end of this year (until otherwise notified we recommend you comply with the current provisions of AB 1103 until then). AB 802 provisions will become operative on January 1, 2017 – the CEC will write regulations to implement in 2016.
There will be no statewide energy use disclosure requirement in 2016. During this time, Energy Commission staff will engage in a public process to develop regulations and establish the reporting infrastructure for the new program. 

BOMA California members MUST engage in this process.

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