skip to main content

Title: Retrofit California Overview and Final Reports

Energy efficiency retrofits (also called upgrades) are widely recognized as a critical component to achieving energy savings in the building sector to help lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To date, however, upgrades have accounted for only a small percentage of aggregate energy savings in building stock, both in California and nationally. Although the measures and technologies to retrofit a building to become energy efficient are readily deployed, establishing this model as a standard practice remains elusive. Retrofit California sought to develop and test new program models to increase participation in the energy upgrade market in California. The Program encompassed 24 pilot projects, conducted between 2010 and mid-2013 and funded through a $30 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Neighborhood Program (BBNP). The broad scope of the Program can be seen in the involvement of the following regionally based Grant Partners: Los Angeles County (as prime grantee); Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), consisting of: o for Alameda County o Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) for Sonoma County o SF Environment for the City and County of San Francisco o City of San Jose; California Center for Sustainable Energymore » (CCSE) for the San Diego region; Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD). Within these jurisdictions, nine different types of pilots were tested with the common goal of identifying, informing, and educating the people most likely to undertake energy upgrades (both homeowners and contractors), and to provide them with incentives and resources to facilitate the process. Despite its limited duration, Retrofit California undoubtedly succeeded in increasing awareness and education among home and property owners, as well as contractors, realtors, and community leaders. However, program results indicate that a longer timeframe will be needed to transform the market and establish energy retrofits as the new paradigm. Innovations such as Flex Path, which came about because of barriers encountered during the Program, have already shown promise and are enabling increased participation. Together, the pilots represent an unprecedented effort to identify and address market barriers to energy efficiency upgrades and to provide lessons learned to shape future program planning and implementation. The statistics reflects the scope of the marketing and outreach campaigns, which tested a variety of approaches to increase understanding of the benefits of energy upgrades to drive participation in the Program. More traditional methods such as TV and radio advertisements were complimented by innovative community based social marketing campaigns that sought to leverage the trusted status of neighborhood organizations and leaders in order to motivate their constituents to undertake retrofits. The remainder of this report provides an overview of Retrofit California including brief summaries of the pilots’ main components and highlights, followed by the major findings or takeaway lessons from the approaches that were tested. Eleven of the pilots will be continued, with modifications, under the ratepayer-funded Regional Energy Networks. Involvement in the RENS by many of the Retrofit California partners will ensure that early lessons learned are carried forward to guide future programs for energy upgrades in California.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
County of Los Angeles
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Program (EE-2J)
Contributing Orgs:
Association of Bay Area Governments, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, California Center for Sustainable Energy, City of San Jose, City and County of San Francisco, Alameda County, County of Sonoma / Regional Climate Protection Authority
Country of Publication:
United States