CEC Adopts Guidelines For Building Decarbonization Program

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has adopted new Guidelines that outline the initial rules and requirements for the Equitable Building Decarbonization Direct Install Program authorized in 2022 by Assembly Bill 209. The program will include a direct install program for low-income households, enabling expanded deployment of energy efficient electric appliances, energy efficiency measures, and related upgrades at minimal or no cost to eligible utility customers. The purpose of the program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance energy equity. The direct install program will be administered separately in Northern, Central, and Southern California by program administrators that will partner with community and tribal-based organizations.

The approved program guidelines include:

  • A $922 budget for fiscal years 2022-23 through 2026-27, with funding divided between the statewide direct install program (including 5% set aside for manufactured housing), tribal program, support for existing programs, statewide incentive program, and program administration;
  • A competitive solicitation to select program administrators;
  • Eligibility requirements to ensure that all participating households are in under-resourced communities and are low income (defined as earning 80 percent of the area median income for single-family buildings and subject to 66 percent requirement for multifamily buildings);
  • Eligibility requirements limiting the program to residential buildings constructed before January 1, 2020 that use fossil fuel as the primary fuel for space or water heating;
  • Use of an analytical tool to target households and properties that are most likely to benefit from the program;
  • Requirement that all retrofits include, at a minimum, the replacement of existing gas-fired heating equipment with a heat pump for space heating and cooling or replacement of an existing gas-fired water heater with a heat pump water heater, and that at the conclusion of the retrofit at least two out of four uses (space heat, water heat, cooking, clothes drying) be electric;
  • Requirement that all work be performed by licensed contractors, complying with applicable standards, permits and manufacturer specifications;
  • Preference for retrofits that avoid the need for electrical panel upgrades;
  • Requirement that program administrators coordinate with other programs offering incentives to advance energy efficiency, weatherization, electrification, and decarbonization in California homes;
  • Tenant protections; and
  • Workforce standards and requirements.

More information about the Equitable Building Decarbonization Program guidelines and implementation activities can be found at the program’s website here.

Contact: Lynn Haug or Chase Maxwell