Exploring Compliance Enforcement Opportunities at the Local Government Level: BayREN’s PROP Report Available

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The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) has released a report of the work completed by their Permit Resource Opportunity Program, or PROP. The report contains an analysis full of best practices, challenges, and opportunities for improvement in compliance enforcement with California energy code.

As shared on BayREN’s website, the PROP report “represents the collaborative efforts of the nine San Francisco Bay Area Counties and 15 Bay Area building departments to learn about energy code enforcement barriers and challenges, identify successful enforcement strategies, and gather data about the impact of discrepancies on building performance.”

“BayREN’s Codes & Standards Permit Resource Opportunity Program (PROP) sent building code experts to Bay Area building departments to study energy code compliance and enforcement practices and to identify successful enforcement strategies. Those best practices are collected in the report.”

Why are best practices on compliance and enforcement of California’s building energy code (currently the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, or BEES) so significant? The report provides a great summary of the energy efficiency opportunities presented by compliance, shared in part below.

From the PROP Report:

“The biggest opportunity for energy savings is in existing buildings. Statewide, new housing construction has slowed in recent years: while an average of 170,000 new housing units were built annually between 2000 and 2007, this number has dropped to 60,000 a year between 2008 and 2014 as the state has responded to the national recession.

“Most of California’s 2050 building stock may have already been built. The age of California’s residential building stock also presents opportunities for energy savings: 58% was constructed before 1978, when the building energy code first became law. Nationally, office buildings that were constructed before 1980 use about 10–15% more energy than buildings constructed after 1980.3 In all, achieving greater energy code compliance among additions and alterations to existing buildings is essential to reducing the state’s building energy use.

“In addition to potential energy savings from properly enforcing the energy code in existing buildings, new construction is the only opportunity to “get it right the first time,” especially for building features that are difficult and expensive to change afterward. By applying building science principles and advances in building technology, Title 24 Part 6 plays a key role in reducing operating and maintenance costs, and preserving long-term property values for owners, as well as providing affordable comfort for occupants.”

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