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If successful, Title 24 will open the door to increased amounts of energy efficiency financing, expanded sources of capital and lower financing costs.
>California’s Title 24
Title 24 is California’s body of state building codes. These codes have been revised to move the building industry toward comprehensive building solutions with a goal of achieving Zero Net Energy (ZNE) residential and commercial buildings. In a ZNE building, the annual building’s energy consumption is equal to the building’s onsite renewable energy generation. California has set a goal for all new residential construction to be ZNE by 2020 and for all new commercial construction to be ZNE by 2030. Additionally, the repurposing and remodeling of existing buildings that are of a size-threshold defined by Title 24 will also have to comply with Title 24 revised codes.
Financing a “smart” Zero Net Energy building
The challenge of financing any energy efficiency or renewable energy project is in providing assurances to the source of capital that the project will actually generate sufficient cost savings to cover financing costs plus repayment of invested capital. The number one challenge for winning energy efficiency investments is the uncertainty in documenting bill savings results. Too often, the cost savings generated by an investment in energy efficiency is lost in higher electric bills as new loads are added and utilities raise rates.
Information technologies that monitor, control and financially operate a building through links to real time prices of grid-supplied electricity are the foundation for enabling Title 24 project financing. Smart ZNE buildings will operate to optimize the economics between reducing building demand, reducing energy consumption, on-site generation, use of on-site energy storage and purchases of grid electricity.
What will further enable the financing of ZNE buildings is the ability of enabling information technologies to “look forward” in time to proactively shape a building’s operation and grid purchases to financially support the building’s project financing. The technologies that can achieve these results have already been invented. What California is pursuing through its Title 24 code revisions is a massive economies of scale push for these technologies to drive their costs down and increase their ability to be financed.
The sales pie just got bigger…a lot bigger
Beginning in 2014, Title 24 will blow the sales doors open for smart building technologies, energy efficiency technologies, onsite energy storage and renewable energy technologies. Title 24 will create a new competitive landscape for architects, general contractors, sub-contractors and vendors based upon their ability to offer price competitive services and products that comply with Title 24 codes. The construction industry’s sales path for energy efficiency projects will no longer be anchored by utility incentives that support targeted energy efficiency upgrades like re-lamping a building with more efficient lights. The new sales path will be based upon cost-effectively delivering code compliance to achieve financeable building performance. New competitive advantages will be won by contractors and architects that offer building performance assurances to building owners and financing sources.<
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