Seminars cover California building code changes

California utilities have benefitted from strong building efficiency codes that have helped keep energy use constant in the state for decades. Power providers also appreciate the challenges building owners and developers face in complying with the toughest efficiency codes in the nation. Green Technology Training is offering a seminar You are leaving Western's site. that can help construction and real estate professionals, as well as utility key account staff and program managers, get up to speed on the latest revisions.

2016 Building Efficiency Standards: Changes and Challenges will cover the Title 24 changes that go into effect January 2017 for both residential and commercial buildings, from high performance walls and attics to lighting and lighting controls. With each round of revisions, the state’s Energy Code moves closer to the goal of zero net energy for all new construction. Staying up to date with its evolution will help utilities as they design new efficiency programs, update preferred contractor lists and advise commercial customers on retrofits.

For convenience, Green Technology is offering the seminar on multiple dates at locations throughout the state:

Attendees will be eligible to receive five Health, Safety and Welfare Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the American Institute of Architects You are leaving Western's site. and .5 International Code Council You are leaving Western's site. CEUs for the course. Sessions will also offer Build it Green CEUs (one credit per hour) and Construction Management Association of America You are leaving Western's site. renewal points (one per hour). All registrants will receive a certificate of participation.

This training is a good opportunity to prepare your staff to support customers as they work toward creating the most efficient building stock in the country. Knowledge is power, and knowledge of the California Building Code is the power to become an indispensable resource your customers can rely on.

White paper, webinar focus on valuing energy-efficient homes

BBwebinar350Discover how residential energy-efficiency programs can help to educate the real estate industry about the value of energy-efficient homes on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 12 p.m. MT. Register for Capturing Efficiency in Residential Real Estate TransactionsYou are leaving Western's site.

The Energy Department (DOE) recently released a new white paper highlighting programs that make homes’ energy-efficient features visible to appraisers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, homebuyers and sellers.

According to multiple studies, homebuyers are giving more consideration to energy efficiency in their purchasing decisions. In fact, energy-efficient homes sell for a premium in some parts of the country. Still, the home sale process frequently fails to account for the value of high-performance home features. Only when investments in energy efficiency are more accurately reflected in home resale prices will homeowners be confident that efficiency investments will be recouped at resale.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory prepared a white paper on programs around the United States that are successfully engaging the real estate community and overcoming barriers to valuing energy efficiency in the home resale process. The research draws on literature and interviews with efficiency program staff and real estate professionals.

Energy-efficiency programs already capture data needed to make efficiency more visible in real estate transactions. Program administrators can make sure this information reaches the people who need it in formats they can use and understand. The paper highlights a number of programs that have already begun to close the energy information gap through efforts including:

  • Issuing a home energy rating or score to program participants
  • Issuing certificates that leverage existing national standards
  • Requiring participating contractors and homebuilders to attach stickers documenting a home’s efficiency information to the home’s circuit box
  • Working with the local Board of Realtors to establish green fields in the local or regional MLS
  • Adopting interoperable standards for documenting efficiency data

The Better Buildings Home Energy Information Accelerator brings together real estate and efficiency partners to develop and demonstrate sustainable approaches to making energy-related information more accessible to home buyers and sellers. On the commercial and industrial side, the program is working with the Appraisal Foundation to improve resources for appraisers who are involved with energy-efficient buildings.

Source: DOE Better Buildings Program, 11/3/15

DOE, Appraisal Foundation to develop resources for green building appraisers

When it comes to educating customers about the value of energy efficiency in buildings, building owners are not the only group utilities need to keep in mind. Real estate appraisers in your territory may well need a crash course in the benefits of high-performance buildings, too. The Energy Department (DOE) and the Appraisal Foundation are working on resources to help the real estate industry figure out what sustainability is worth.ValueOfGreen

“Green” features can lower a building’s operating cost and make it a less financially risky investment, as shown in a case study by the Institute for Market Transformation. A commercial building in Wilmington, North Carolina, that implemented energy conservation measures reduced its annual energy costs by nearly $11,000, increasing the building’s valuation by up to $275,000. The study also showed that installing a renewable system has a similar effect. Buildings in California with solar panels can be valued at a premium as high as $5,911 per kilowatt of energy capacity.

Yet building owners often worry—with reason—that they will not recoup their investment in energy-efficiency upgrades when it comes time to resell the building. If appraisers are not educated about green strategies, they might overlook some of the benefits that could make the building more marketable, such as reduced operational and environmental risks. And that adds just one more barrier to getting customers to implement such measures.

To address this concern, DOE has teamed up with the Appraisal Foundation to improve resources for appraisers who are involved with energy-efficient buildings. The first of these resources, the Appraisal Practices Board (APB) Valuation Advisory #6: Valuation of Green Buildings: Background and Core Competency, is available to download. Technical experts and industry leaders collaborated on the APB Valuation Advisory to give appraisers a basic educational background on green or high-performance buildings. Two upcoming resources will build on this guide’s foundation with methodological guidance for valuing residential and commercial buildings.

DOE supported this work by providing subject matter experts and soliciting feedback from members of the Better Buildings Alliance. Appraisers can also find software tools, databases and education courses on the website that they can use to better evaluate green buildings.

Key account representatives should consider sharing the APM Valuation Advisory with local realtors’ associations. Municipal utilities in particular are in the position to bring these new resources to the attention of the appropriate city departments. Utilities might understandably see market transformation of the real estate industry as outside of their scope. On the other hand, it could be an opportunity to create new allies who can make the business case for energy-efficiency improvements for you.

Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy via Green Power News, 7/23/15