Updating the California Commercial ZNE Action Plan

Update! The new Draft Commercial ZNE Action Plan is now available for review and comments. Please give your feedback by January 29, 2018 and help shape the future of ZNE in California. https://www.capath2zne.org/commercialzneactionplan

The construction market has changed since the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) “Commercial New Construction Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Action Plan” was last updated in 2011. So the CPUC spent the last year engaging public stakeholder groups in order to develop the next plan for commercial new construction. The ZNE action plan is designed to operationalize the California Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan’s (CEESP) goal to have all commercial buildings achieve ZNE beginning in 2030.

To be successful, the five-year plan must be supported by multiple market actors and serve as a guide for state agencies, local government, and the utilities, as well as motivate the industry. After a year of listening to different communities, the new plan is nearly complete, with its release anticipated in early 2018.

CA Drivers

The public engagement illustrated the need to adjust the Big Bold Goals from being ZNE-focused to include carbon reduction and grid integration. Six drivers are anticipated to organize the plan:

  • Programs Enable ZNE Projects
  • Market Capacity and ZNE Readiness
  • Awareness and Informed Customer Decisions
  • Integrated ZNE/DER Districts
  • Targeted Technology Research and Development
  • Codes and Standards Development

Energy efficiency, education, and technology research will remain important aspects of the plan. A new focus on scaling ZNE, ZNE readiness, and integrated community scale energy systems will help meet carbon reduction goals. The CPUC will develop tools to support customers in making informed decisions about ZNE that are appropriate for individual projects. A new ZNE ​discussion ​tool is under development to support state goals, local government, and developers on the best path to ZNE, encouraging building efficiency and grid integration.

“This tool will educate ​decision-makers further and open them up to options beyond traditional efficiency measures​ and solar-only approaches​,” said Mindy Craig of BluePoint Planning, who is facilitating the plan update.

Comments on the six drivers is still open to the public. Comment here: https://www.caznecommercial.com/framework

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