More Energy

energy580 Since the passage of AB 32, California has set out on an aggressive path to reduce energy consumption and consequent contributions of greenhouse gases. This requires significant market transformation in a relatively short time. Architects and AIACC are prepared to take this challenge and to continue to lead in providing the education, training and oversight of the profession as it embraces the changes necessary to meet the goals of AB 32. This page contains relevant research, information, and tools for the architectural profession to better understand the issues and available resources.

research275 Architects are finding that fact-based design is becoming the norm for today’s client who demands the most efficient utilization of their building funds. Research and rich data are available from many sources, made more relevant and accessible through current computing power and the necessities of climate change.

  • Business Case for Green Buildings Report – In recent years, a wide range of studies and reports have outlined elements of the ‘business case’ for green buildings, but this report is the first attempt to synthesize all credible evidence from around the world into one definitive resource, complete with global examples and thought pieces from leading experts.
  • California Energy Commission Staff Report- The CEC reported in August 2012 on its Comprehensive Energy Efficieny Program for Existing Buildings Scoping. This scoping report document is the first of two documents that will collectively serve as the foundation and roadmap for implementing the Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings as required by Assembly Bill 758 (Skinner, Chapter 470, Statutes 2009).
  • Certification System Review – GSA completed its most recent evaluation of green building certification systems in March 2012. This evaluation includes certification systems for new construction, major renovations and existing buildings (ongoing operations).
  • Financing K-12 Solar – This document focuses on financial options developed specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, including the traditional methods of financing capital investments at schools.
  • Pacific Energy Center 2012 Architectural Curriculum Workshop Summary Report – On June 13, 2012 PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center (PEC) assembled a group of energy efficiency, architecture, and training experts to advise in the establishment of “a multi-level architecture and integrated design curriculum that responds to the priorities laid out in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, as well as the California Workforce Education and Training Needs Assessment for Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation, and Demand Response.
  • Public Health-Built Environment – The purpose of this report is to better understand the specific development patterns and changes to the built environment that will have a significant impact on public health.
  • VOX-Global 2012 Sustainablity Leaders Survey – “Sustainability,” little more than a buzzword in the corridors of corporate America a decade ago, is today a business concept that has been embraced by many companies in principle and, increasingly, in practice.
  • WET Needs Assessment Executive Summary – The “California Workforce Education and Training Needs Assessment for Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, and Distributed Generation” was called for in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, adopted by the CPUC in September 2008.
  • Workforce Education -Contains reports generated on workforce education for the new energy economy.

tools275 Architecture, by its technical nature, requires the constant updating of the means to design. The utilization of the latest technology and strategies towards energy efficient buildings will help architects meet the energy challenge.

  • 2013 SBD Participant Handbook – Savings By Design (SBD) is California’s nonresidential new construction energy efficiency program, administered statewide and funded by Utility customers through the Public Purpose Programs surcharge applied to gas and electric services. Projects participating in Savings By Design receive services including design assistance, Owners Incentives, Design Team Incentives, and Energy Design Resources. Services begin in the project design phase and continue through construction completion.
  • AIA Energy Guide 2012 – With the increasing awareness and focus on sustainability, the twenty-first century architect must become fluent with vocabulary and technologies that predict, test, and quantify energy performance in buildings. This fluency is essential to respond to the requirements of new green building codes and savvy clients who demand to know how actual performance matches predictions of energy consumption by their design team. The energy model and focus on energy performance is not meant to supplant the importance of design. Rather, a building energy model is a tool that can be utilized throughout the design process to test various design options and optimize the performance of all building typologies.
  • CA Building Energy Standards 2008 – California Energy Commission (CEC) administrative regulations relating to the energy building regulations in Title 24, Part 6. This applies to all residential and nonresidential buildings.
  • CA Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan 2011 – The CPUC recognized that California‘s very ambitious energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals require long-term strategic planning to eliminate persistent market barriers and effect lasting transformation in the market for energy efficiency across the economy. Accordingly, the Commission committed to prepare and adopt a long-term strategic plan for California energy efficiency through 2020 and beyond.
  • CA Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan 2008 – In October 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created a framework to make energy efficiency a way of life in California by refocusing ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs on achieving long-term savings through structural changes in the way Californians use energy. The objective of the Plan is to compel sustained market transformation, thus moving California toward long-term deep energy savings in the residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors of the economy. The EE Strategic Plan is a central element in the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) and is also a main component of the implementation of AB 758, California’s Comprehensive Energy Efficience Program for Existing Residential and Nonresidential Buildings law, passed in 2010.
  • Center for the Built Environment: CBE Thermal Comfort Tool – A tool for predicting human comfort resulting from HVAC, building and facade design decisions.
  • Case for Green Build Executive Summary – This report investigates the business costs and benefits of green building in five vital categories and finishes with an exploration into the both the impacts that a greener built environment can have at a macro scale and how this can be achieved.
  • Green Existing Builds – EDC Magazine
  • EDC GreenbookEDC Magazine provides education for designing, constructing, remodeling, operating and maintaining the sustainable built environment. The EDC GREENBook is a Sustainable Product + Resource Guide, available online to members of the USGBC or by purchase of a print copy.
  • Green+Schools+Investment+Guide – This guide outlines how architects can team up with schools and districts to design and implement comprehensive strategies that simultaneously improve the wellness of students and staff, enhance learning conditions and set strong examples of sustainability for our communities.
  • Regional Avenue EUI – – The United States has a robust public database of operational building energy use (the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, or CBECS) and a powerful, free online tool which analyzes this and other data (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Target Finder).
  • SB Tool Overview – To improve building performance, we must first be able to measure it. This system is a rating framework or toolbox and only becomes a rating tool after a third party calibrates it for their region by defining scope and setting weights, context and performance benchmarks The system is therefore a very useful international benchmarking tool, one that provides signals to local industry on the state of performance in their region, while also providing absolute data for international comparisons.
  • WBDG User’s Guide – The Whole Building Design Guide was conceived in 1997 by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Engineering Criteria and Programs Office in collaboration with the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council. Created to assist the design community with integrating government criteria, non-government standards, vendor data, and expert knowledge into a whole building perspective, the WBDG is managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NBIS) in Washington, DC.
  • ZNE Action Plan 2010 – This Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Action Plan is designed to help California‘s commercial buildings sector achieve the goals described in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan by the CPUC (the ―Strategic Plan‖ or the ―Plan).
  • Sustainability Leadership Opportunity Scan – This report summarizes current sustainability activities within the AIA and with partner and ancillary organizations. It also identifies a few specific priority areas for the AIA to focus its resources.
  • Water – Over the next century, water resources will become a central issue to the quality of human life forcing designers to rethink how water is used and distributed.

resources275 Academia, private business, and government have all made energy efficiency a critical interest. Research and education are conducted by each sector, with critical feedback enriching the knowledge loop from study to use to measurement of success to lessons learned.

  • AIA Sustainable Design Policy Center, Federal – Includes compilation of information on federal, state, and local efforts to promote high-performance design principles and standards.
  • Center for Environmental Design Research – Located at UC Berkeley, this center’s mission is to foster research in environmental planning and design. Building science is the largest of CEDR’s programs and provides research to increase the scientific knowledge used in building design and operation.
  • California Lighting Technology Center – Provides classes and course materials at UC Davis for designers, contractors, energy auditors, distributors, and other professionals working to meet or exceed California’s Title 24 energy efficiency standards.
  • CIFE Center for Integrated Facility Engineering – Housed at Stanford University, CIFE brings together faculty members, researchers, students, and industry participants from diverse domains, such as civil engineering, architecture, computer science, business, and law. It strives to be the world’s premier academic research center for Virutal Design and Construction of Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC industry projects.
  • Center for Resource Efficient Communities – Within in UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, CREC is dedicated to supporting California’s climate change and resource efficiency goals through interdisciplinary research, public communication, and professional outreach.
  • Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) – The UC Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) provides a coordinating hub for all of Berkeley’s energy and climate efforts to ensure the integration of science, engineering, social science, market, and policy research. Its research provides a multi-faceted approach to solving the world’s energy challenge from four major perspectives: supply, demand, environment, and policy.
  • Green Building Research Center (GBRC) – The Green Building Research Center at UC Berkeley was created to advance and promote sustainable building design and operation on the UC Berkeley campus, and provide resources to aid other universities in similar efforts across the state.
  • i4 Energy – A nexus for bringing multi-disciplinary minds together to create information technology advances for our multi-layered energy challenges, it is rooted in its three founding institutions: UC’s Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • National Institute of Building Sciences – NIBS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that successfully brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests, and regulatory agencies to focus on the identification and resolution of problems and potential problems that hamper the construction of safe, affordable structures for housing, commerce and industry throughout the US. NIBS includes the Building Enclosure Council, the Building Enclosure Technology & Environment Council, and building SMART alliance, among others.
  • PIYUSH Homes – Passive House Institute US is a nonprofit organization that provides training, education and research to promote implementation of Passive House Building Energy standard, as well as the design and approach and techniques to accomplish that standard. The Passive House concept represents today’s highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the heating energy consumption of buildings by 90%.
  • US Green Building Council – USGBC invests over $30 million a year to maintain, operate, and improve LEED and its customer delivery. It represents the probable largest infrastructure for any building energy rating system. In April `1993, representatives from approximately 60 firms and a few nonprofit organizations met in the boardroom of the AIA in Washington DC for the council’s founding meeting.
  • UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center – The EEC was established in 2006 with a challenge grant from the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) as the first university-based energy efficiency center in the United States to focus on the transfer of technology into the marketplace. The EEC mission is to accelerate the development and commercialization of energy efficiency technologies and to train future leaders in energy efficiency
  • Pacific Energy Center – The Pacific Energy Center offers educational programs (PEC calendar), design tools, advice, and support to create energy efficient buildings and comfortable indoor environments. Most of its efforts are focused around commercial buildings, however, other departments offer advice and information for residential buildings.

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09_AIA_Leadership_Energy_Regulatory_Agencies Architects and the AIACC are taking on the challenges of AB 32, 2020, 2030, and Zero Net Energy. By understanding the why and where of regulations from the California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission, we support our relevancy to our state’s need for the built-environment to be responsibly designed and constructed.
  • CPUC: California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan 2011 – : Dating back to 1912, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, and passenger transportation companies. The CPUC recognized that California‘s very ambitious energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals require long-term strategic planning to eliminate persistent market barriers and effect lasting transformation in the market for energy efficiency across the economy. Accordingly, the Commission committed to prepare and adopt a long-term strategic plan for California energy efficiency through 2020 and beyond.
  • CPUC: ZNE Action Plan- Finalized in 2012, the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Action Plan is designed to help California’s commercial building sector achieve the goals described in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.
  • CEC – The California Energy Commission (CEC) is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974, six basic responsibilities guide the CEC as it sets state energy policy: 1. Forecasts future energy needs; 2. Promotes energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state’s appliance and building efficiency standards; 3. Supports public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology; 4. Develops renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry, and transportation; 5. Licenses thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; and 6. Plans for and directs state response to energy emergencies.

08_AIA_Leadership_Energy_Legislative_Advocacy Our Legislature is the voice of the people of California. As architects, we listen to our clients, the people, and what they choose for the future. But we are also professionals with the responsibility to inform and raise the awareness of the public, including elected officials, to the impact of design and construction on the environment.
  • AB 39 – California Clean Energy Jobs Act, passed as Proposition 39 in November 2012.
  • AB 32 – California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

05_AIA_Leadership_Energy_ImportantArticles Energy efficiency is a widespread topic throughout California and the US and is reviewed from many perspectives and client sectors: housing, commerce, schools, and hospitals, among many. Articles of particular interest will be posted here, to inform and compel.


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Attend or listen in to any of the events posted to gain an appreciation of the complicated and critical nature of climate change and its effect on our profession. Our relevancy to climate change solutions is directly proportionate to the level and quality of knowledge and training that we bring to our communities.