Energy Solutions was the lead program developer and technical implementer for the Association of Bay Area Governments’ (ABAG) local government energy efficiency program – ABAG Energy Watch. This program, funded by California utility rate-payers and administered through PG&E, offered a broad range of energy efficiency technical assistance to local governments in the San Francisco Bay Area. Services included utility energy assessments; lighting, HVAC, and controls audits; computer power management support; direct lighting retrofit installation services; energy policy expertise; and rebate assistance. The three year (2006-2008) program was an extension of the 2004-2005 ABAG Local Government Energy Partnership program for which Energy Solutions also served as lead technical implementer.
Energy Solutions was responsible for designing and implementing the program, including identifying and offering a menu of services in high demand from local governments, developing a strategy to deliver the services in a timely and cost-effective manner, providing highly customized management and implementation support for energy projects, and tracking and reporting progress towards goals. The program successfully provided a variety of innovative, customized policy and programmatic solutions that could be replicated by other local government agencies.
The program’s objective was to provide comprehensive, cost-effective services to local government agencies, deliver measurable energy savings (kW, kWh and therms) to our clients, support local government energy planning and policy development, and provide energy efficiency education/training.
Historically, local governments face a number of barriers that have made it difficult to participate in energy efficiency programs, including:
- Limited local government funding and financing options to implement projects
- Long lead times for project implementation
- Lack of local government staff time to manage project procurements and implementation
- Specialized building uses and design constraints which require a high level of technical assistance and customized solutions for effective retrofits
Despite the barriers, local government agencies are also great candidates for energy efficiency programs. They typically can realize significant benefits from energy efficiency projects, as many of their facilities were built prior to the 1970s when Title 24 energy requirements were first introduced in California and have not implemented a program of systematic upgrades. Local governments are also good candidates because they are charged with using public funds as efficiently as possible, and are therefore interested in reducing energy use for financial reasons; they often have environmental goals that include reducing carbon emissions; and are interested in serving as an example for their communities and businesses in demonstrating cost-effective solutions that can be replicated.
The Program offered a wide array of services to local governments to overcome many of the historical participation barriers. To meet the individual needs of the participants and the client’s need for cost-effective energy savings, Energy Solutions focused on providing the following services:
- Utility energy assessments and benchmarking of facility energy use (for many participants this was completed as part of an agency-wide Energy Assessment Report)
- Lighting, HVAC, and mechanical controls audits
- Computer power management technical assistance and rebates
- Direct installation of lighting retrofits
- Equipment specification
- Bid and RFP process management
- Facilitation of communication between owners, contractors, and equipment vendors
- Post-installation inspections and quality control
- Energy policy expertise assisting with the development of energy plans, energy conservation ordinances and procurement policies
- Identification, coordination, and assistance obtaining rebates and financing, including low-interest loans and power purchase agreements
- Educational workshops on implementing energy efficiency projects and developing Climate Action Plans
Through the ABAG Energy Watch program, Energy Solutions served over 70 local government agencies and completed over 300 energy efficiency projects. The program facilitated the installation of over 102% of its 25,000,000 kWh savings goal and over 170% of its 344,000 therm savings goal. The program also exceeded its goals in areas including participant enrollment, technical assistance, energy policy assistance, and educational workshops.
Energy Savings: 25.4 Million kWh; 4,100 kW; 583,000 therms
Projects Completed: 300+, including retro-commissioning, lighting retrofits, HVAC and motor retrofits, direct install lighting, and computer power management.
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions: The Program’s energy savings achievements represent an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 8,830 metric tons of CO2e, and over the lifetime of the implemented measures the greenhouse gas reduction totals approximately 79,100 metric tons of CO2e.
Cost Savings: The Energy Efficiency Projects are estimated to reduce the affected local government agencies’ utility expenditures by about $4.3 million annually over the lifetime of the implemented measures.