April 2016 - In This Issue:
About BayREN

BayREN is a collaboration of the 9 counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area. Led by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. BayREN is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. 


Since our inception, the BayREN has been addressing the three areas indicated by CPUC Decision 12.11.015 in the formation and implementation of programs: filling gaps that the Investor Owned Utilities are not serving; developing programs for hard to reach markets; and piloting new approaches to programs that may have the ability to scale and offer innovative avenues to energy savings.

View the most recent figures on BayREN programs here.



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Collaborative Efficiency in Local Government  
With over 450 outreach events held throughout the nine Bay Area counties to date, BayREN outreach efforts continue to be busy reaching homeowners through workshops, tabling, canvassing, and more.  BayREN counties partner with local Community Based Organizations, Local Government Partnerships, city programs and more to share a complete message in energy efficiency.
Of the many exciting collaborations to take place, the Marin County Sustainability Team has been working jointly with the Marin County Long Range Planning Team to promote Home Upgrade through their ongoing public awareness effort on sea-level rise adaptation. This collaboration has been mutually beneficial for both groups in that the Marin Long Range Planning Team can direct their audience to energy efficiency resources and the Marin Sustainability Team can market Home Upgrade to a large and engaged audience. 
In 2015, the Marin County Sustainability Team attended four sea-level rise events and marketed Home Upgrade and other residential energy efficiency programs, two of those events having over 100 attendees. The two groups also partnered on two interactive climate change exhibits with San Rafael Art Works Downtown, and plan to coordinate messaging around mitigation and adaptation in 2016. "Partnering with the Sustainability Team gives a proactive context to our message around planning for the slow-moving disaster of sea level rise, by also sharing actions people can take to reduce their contribution to climate change. Mitigation and adaptation are both key to building a more resilient future," said Lauren Armstrong, Marin County Long Range Planner.  For more information on Marin County's sea-level rise work visit: www.marinslr.org.
BAMBE Starts 2016 with Strong Uptake in First Quarter  
The Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program has begun 2016 with a strong start. The goal is to serve another 5,000 units this year, and has a quarter of that goal already reserved and under construction, with over 7,000 more units currently receiving consulting services. Outreach efforts this quarter have leveraged local industry associations. For example, counties attended a San Francisco Apartment Association tradeshow and authored an article that will appear in the East Bay Rental Housing Association's magazine in April. Counties have also begun hosting another round of informational workshops and sending letters.
The Multifamily Capital Advance program has successfully closed three loans. Read the press release here: http://abag.ca.gov/abag/news/
Regional Support for the 2016 Energy Code Updates and Future Code Cycles
In 2016, BayREN's Codes & Standards (C&S) Program will continue its work in three primary areas of energy code compliance and implementation support, including Compliance Improvement Activities, Energy Code Trainings, and Policy Development.
To help improve energy code compliance, BayREN C&S will be expanding efforts to distribute BayREN and Energy Code Ace Energy Code Best Practice Checklists and Permit Guides to help increase building departments' and permit applicants' understanding of how to improve code compliance in a streamlined manner. At the same time, BayREN is engaging building departments to explore opportunities to deploy electronic permitting and code compliance tools and or regional plan check services that support energy code documentation and requirements.
Similar energy code compliance topics are addressed by BayREN's Energy Code Trainings, which focus on topics including Energy Code Forms and tips for using the HERS Registries. This spring BayREN became a preferred training provider with the International Code Council and will soon offer ICC approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for approved courses.
On the Policy front, BayREN C&S will build on its existing work with over 75 Bay Area communities to continue its series of Regional Forums. The March 29th Forum - "Bridging the Gap: From Efficient Policies to Successful, On-the-Ground Implementation" - was attended by 36 people in-person and 20 by webinar as BayREN looks to increase access to this popular quarterly event. This year's Forums will help pave the way for BayREN to actively engage local stakeholders in the implementation of the 2016 Title 24 Part 6 update and the development of the 2019 update.
For more information on BayREN C&S activities, to request an Energy Code Training, or learn more about our future Forums, please visit bayren.org/codes.
PACE - Property Accessed Clean Energy
BayREN Regional Collaborative Services Agreement (RCSA) with Residential PACE Administrators   
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is rapidly growing in popularity with local governments as a means for local home and business owners to finance the upfront coast of energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy improvements to their properties and repay the funds via a special voluntary property tax assessment. Currently over $1.5 billion in residential PACE has been financed in California, primarily in the single family home market.
Typically local jurisdictions make residential PACE available to their property owners by passing an authorizing resolution to "opt in" to JPA's that have partnered with PACE providers. The JPA issues bonds and partners on legal and related matters with PACE Providers, private companies who have arranged capital to purchase the bonds, administer programs, vet and work with installation contractors, and service assessments in partnership with county tax collectors. This makes the proposition to local governments attractive since there is almost zero cost or effort required to participate.
However, since the PACE Provider's primary relationship is with the JPA, the local jurisdiction is also giving up control and oversight opportunities over PACE activities. The intent of the RCSA, as administered by ABAG, is to collaborate with PACE Provider on behalf of ABAG members to:
  • Monitor PACE activities in regards to consumer protections practices
  • Improve program reporting and transparency
  • Support complementary energy efficiency efforts in local communities
Executed by and between ABAG and PACE Providers active in the Bay Area, the RCSA now affords ABAG member jurisdictions who "sign on" an extra layer of protection that these best practices apply to PACE activities in their communities. ABAG is now working on compliance monitoring, standardizing data reporting, and other operational aspects. Stay tuned for more details on how your city can participate in this effort.
Pay As You SaveĀ® On-bill Program
Water Bill Savings Act Could Bring Water Conservation to the Next Level
BayREN's work with the Town of Windsor, the City of Hayward, and East Bay Municipal Utility District has demonstrated the potential for on-water-bill programs to achieve significant water savings through property improvements such as the conversion of lawn to drought tolerant landscape and the installation of high efficiency toilets. This spring, State Senator Mike McGuire, who represents Windsor, introduced Senate Bill 1233, the Water Bill Savings Act, to facilitate water savings on a regional scale by offering California water utilities a new tool to help their customers pursue cost effective water conservation.
SB 1233 clarifies the statutory authority of California Joint Powers Authorities to use revenue bonds to finance behind-the-meter water conservation projects. Why is this necessary? Because water efficiency is hard. For a single family, a project to save 20% of use and $15 a month isn't that motivating. An apartment owner may have old equipment and high water bills, but replacing toilets may be lower on the list of improvement than other repairs.
Water providers currently motivate water saving projects through rebates, technical assistance, and direct install programs, all of which are paid for by ratepayers or state grants. The Water Bill Savings Act provides a new way to help customers save money and water, and to make sure there is enough for all current and future demand. Unlike rebates, the proposal would also allow those property owners who benefit most directly from efficiency to pay for the improvements.
If you are interested in learning more about BayREN's on-bill utility programs or the Water Bill Savings Act, please contact the BayREN PAYS program lead at lcasey@sctainfo.org.

Jennifer Berg
BayREN Program Manager | ABAG