Advocacy is important
Efficiency First California has been advocating for contractors for decades. Contractors founded the organization in 2002, and we continue to advocate on their behalf. We are continually involved in crucial policy discussions at the state and federal levels.
Here are just a few examples of how we are looking out for contractor interests.
National Policy – Advocating for contractors at the federal level
We have regular meetings with the US Department of Energy (DoE). EFCA has been a Home Performance with Energy Star Program Sponsor for over a decade. We serve as an information source to the DoE so they can stay abreast of changes and trends in California. Ideas and policies often start in California and spread nationwide. The push for carbon-free energy and natural gas bans are examples of recent California trends gaining traction nationwide.
California Policy – Supporting the state’s climate goals
Supporting California’s climate goals
For years we have been supporting the state’s aggressive climate goals. The trend started in 1996 with the passage of SB 32, which set the goal of reducing Greenhouse gas (GHG) levels to 40 percent less than 1990 levels by 2030. Similar bills were introduced, such as SB 3232 and AB 758, which raised the bar. The ultimate result was SB 100, signed in Sept. 2018, and requires 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Efficiency First has supported these efforts, consistently advocating for legislation that reduces GHG emissions.
Direct involvement in California legislative efforts
We worked with policymakers to modify the dreaded “Three-Prong-Test.” The policy was outdated and was a legacy cost metric for energy efficiency projects. The Three-Prong-Test restricted fuel substitutions, such as changing from a gas furnace to an electric heat pump. We partnered with several other organizations to increase our effectiveness. After three years of meetings and discussions, the regulation was modified, paving the way for fuel conversions in energy efficiency projects today.
SB 1477 – Low-emissions buildings and sources of heat energy. Many contractors in California are now eligible for TECH Clean California rebates for heat pump technology. Efficiency First California has been supporting this legislation since its inception. Our Executive Director testified, as an expert witness, to the Senate in promoting the value of the principles and rebates included in SB 1477.
We are at the table
We are actively involved in state policy discussions. The message is consistent with building permits, the HERS process, Total Systems Benefits, Normalized Metered Savings, etc. We voice our perspective; any proposed changes must align with the contractor’s best interests and support healthy (profitable) business models.
Rebate program design and implementation
Efficiency First California has provided support services to utilities for decades. We are a program implementor for multiple Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) incentive programs. It started with SMUD’s residential Home Performance program and has expanded over the years. SMUD is an early adopter in the decarbonization effort and was the first utility in the country to concentrate on GHG reductions instead of total energy saved.
Rebate program designers and implementors frequently involve Efficiency First California in program design and implementation conversations. The success of the SMUD programs is well known statewide, and we are more than willing to help others replicate its success. Our message is twofold: keep it simple and consider the impact on contractors.
Subject matter experts
Our staff has years of experience in the industry, and several are former contractors. We also have an extensive list of industry contacts. We provide an expert perspective on current energy trends in California. We work collaboratively with magazines, newspapers, and writers to provide technical and policy details.
Many writers have learned that our staff is a great resource. If we don’t have a staff member familiar with a topic, we will likely have a contact who does. Again, our focus in these conversations is on representing the contractor’s perspective.