“Bay Area communities working together for a sustainable energy future.”
In 2010, the RCPA joined other Bay Area partners with an interest in local government engagement on energy efficiency to create the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN).
BayREN is a collaboration of the nine 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. One of only two Regional Energy Networks in the state, BayREN represents 20 percent of the state’s population.
BayREN is implementing programs that help improve the energy efficiency of buildings in multiple sectors including single family residential, multi-family residential, and commercial. BayREN is using a multi-pronged approach to encourage retrofit projects by providing outreach and education, technical assistance, rebates, financing, and trainings.
By participating in BayREN, the RCPA is helping the local governments of Sonoma County have a voice in the administration of public energy efficiency programs. BayREN is also bringing value to Sonoma County residents in the form of financial incentives, trusted advice, technical assistance, trainings, and retrofit business development support.
For the most recent reports on BayREN Program impacts, visit: https://www.bayren.org/about.
Single Family Homes
BayREN programs in the residential sector are part of Energy Upgrade California®, a statewide program to help Californians take action to save energy, help reduce demand on the electricity grid, and make informed energy management choices at home. As part of Energy Upgrade California, BayREN provides several Home Upgrade resources including rebates (which can range from $1,000 up to $6,800), a free advising service to walk homeowners through every step of a Home Upgrade, and contractor trainings and certifications to promote quality.
In its first two years of programs, BayREN delivered the following in Sonoma County:
- Over 50 education and outreach events
- Over 240 homes retrofit
- Over $529,000 in incentives paid to homeowners
- Estimated project work exceeding $3.3 million
- Total annual energy savings of 135,500 kWh and 35,800 therms
- Annual GHG emissions reductions of over 217 MTCO2e
A key value of the BayREN and RCPA approach is building partnerships with existing groups and other implementers to avoid duplication of effort and leverage local resources. RCPA has been collaborating with the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program to provide a seamless one-stop-shop experience for local property owners, providing energy upgrade incentive and rebate information, a list of certified contractors, and financing options in one convenient package. The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program Homepage connects Sonoma County residents with all resources available to them including BayREN resources: http://sonomacountyenergy.org/homepage/
Energy Upgrade California’s Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements offers cash rebates and free energy consulting for multifamily properties that undertake energy upgrades. The program assists in planning energy saving improvements designed to save 15% or more of a building’s energy usage and provides $750 per unit in rebates to help pay for the upgrade.
Through BayREN, the RCPA has advertised the program to the owners of hundreds of properties in Sonoma County, successfully driving:
- Energy programs workshops for roughly 30 property owners and managers
- Free technical assistance for 241 residential units at 8 properties
- Over $80,000 in incentives paid to property owners
- Estimated project work exceeding $173,000
- Total annual energy savings of 40,300 kWh and 3,100 therms
- Annual GHG emissions reductions of 24 MTCO2e
This case study highlights the benefits harnessed by a local property owner.
The program is open to multifamily buildings with five or more attached dwelling units in the nine county Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma).
Building Energy Codes & Standards
The BayREN Codes & Standards Program promotes and provides trainings that engage building department staff and the building professionals they serve to increase understanding of new Energy Code developments and best practices for compliance (permit applicants) and enforcement (building departments). The RCPA works with local building officials and industry groups to bring BayREN trainings to Sonoma County locations.
Current training curricula available can be found and requested at https://www.bayren.org/codes/trainings.
BayREN also hosts quarterly Regional Forums at which elected officials, appointed policy board members, local building department Chief Building Officials, and regional codes and standards advocates focus on high-level policy and program design issues on energy efficiency and energy code compliance.
Upcoming Forum agendas and past Forum materials can be viewed at: https://www.bayren.org/codes/regional-forums.