California energy efficiency solutions

We advance energy efficiency to help the state meet its emissions target

Energy efficiency is considered to be the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

California has made a name for itself by keeping per capita electricity consumption flat for the last 30 years while its population grew and demand for energy increased. Energy efficiency standards enacted in the 1970s have made important contributions to this trend.

California still needs to do much more on the energy efficiency front to meet the emissions reductions goals set forth in AB 32.

Finding efficiency solutions for California

EDF champions policies and legislation to reduce electricity use. Our advocacy work includes:

Proposing and studying ways that communities can reap economic benefits from reducing global warming emissions.

EDF and San Francisco Community Power conducted the Climate for Community pilot program to identify ways that households and small businesses can be more efficient and conserve energy, water and fuel. These activities lead to reduced emissions and lower monthly bills.

The program explored how community reductions can be combined, verified and sold as credits under the cap-and-trade program that California is establishing to meet statewide reduction targets. The program demonstrated that communities can benefit economically and help clean their environment by participating in the fight against global warming pollution.

Supporting strong state green building standards through stakeholder input.

Greener buildings are featured in the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Scoping Plan as a way to help meet AB 32 targets.

Though California's Buildings Standards Commission (BSC) has developed statewide green building standards, the law failed to clarify which agencies that should be involved or show how standards fit into building code development practices. EDF co-sponsored a bill that would require the BSC to consult with key agencies such as CARB and to work closely with environmental and other stakeholders. The bill inspired the BSC to adopt regulations that clearly lay out broad stakeholder engagement, providing an example for other states to follow.

Proposing better compliance with the California Building Standards Code (Title 24).

Only 70% of new buildings comply with mandatory standards—leaving 30% of greenhouse gas emission reduction opportunities on the table.

Our advocacy helped ensure that green building worker training programs funded with federal stimulus dollars include training on Title 24 to improve statewide compliance. By receiving Title 24 training, workers obtain basic building skills and learn the foundation for advanced energy efficiency and green building techniques.

Educating municipalities about incentives for local jurisdictions to participate in green building training programs.

Local buy-in is likely to increase the number of green buildings and energy efficiency compliance at the regional level.

Supporting the nation's first energy efficiency standards for televisions.

TVs account for 10% of household electricity use and their energy consumption rate has been increasing 8% annually. In late 2009, the California Energy Commission approved energy efficiency standards for big screen TVs that will save consumers money, cut energy use and reduce global warming pollution.

Read about our nonpartisan approach to policy