During National Clean Energy Action Month, take steps toward climate action for your commercial real estate.

Since our inception, the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR® programs have been at the core of Green Econome’s services to help our customers save energy, save money, and protect the planet. As a commercial real estate owner or manager, you have the power to make a positive impact on the environment and your bottom line. October is National Clean Energy Action Month, a perfect time to take action and implement energy-efficient practices in your buildings. One of the best ways to start is through ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certification.

ENERGY STAR is a program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the environment by promoting energy-efficient products and practices. Through benchmarking, you can compare your building's energy performance to similar buildings and identify areas for improvement. Certification, on the other hand, recognizes buildings that meet strict energy efficiency standards and have lower energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By using ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certification, you can reap numerous benefits for your buildings and your business.

Top 5 Reasons for Clean Energy Action

Comply with Local and State Energy Benchmarking and Building Performance Policy

Cities and states nationwide are adopting climate action plans, which in many cases include annual ENERGY STAR benchmarking to track energy and water use and building performance standards to reduce GHG emissions across their existing building stock. Often ENERGY STAR certification is an exemption from having to perform costly audits, retro-commissioning, and efficiency improvements.

Lower Energy Costs

Energy-efficient buildings consume less energy and therefore have lower energy bills. According to ENERGY STAR, certified buildings use 35% less energy and emit 35% less carbon dioxide than typical buildings. By benchmarking your building's energy performance, you can identify ways to reduce energy waste and save money in the long run.

Higher Property Value

ENERGY STAR certification is a badge of honor that can increase your building's value and appeal to potential tenants or buyers. Certified buildings are more attractive to environmentally conscious tenants who prefer to work or live in sustainable spaces. Moreover, building certifications are being used as ESG targets and requirements by tenant companies, REITs, and investment firms.

Improved Indoor Comfort

Energy-efficient buildings are not only good for the environment and your wallet, but also for the health and comfort of occupants. By reducing energy waste, you can improve indoor air quality, reduce noise levels, and enhance thermal comfort. This can result in higher productivity, better health outcomes, and happier occupants.

Positive Public Relations

Implementing energy-efficient practices and achieving ENERGY STAR certification can improve your business's public image and reputation. You can promote your achievements to your stakeholders, customers, and the media, and showcase your commitment to sustainability and energy conservation.

Join us this month in celebrating the progress made, and more importantly, taking steps to further the clean energy transition needed to sustain our future. Take a moment, gather your team, and discuss with purpose what changes and goals you can commit to in 2024 and beyond. When you have the vision, take action. Call (424) 422-9696 or Contact Us. Talk to you soon!

About Green Econome

Green Econome is a woman-owned, small business providing energy and water efficiency compliance, consulting, and construction services for commercial real estate. Our Los Angeles-based team of licensed and credentialed professionals takes an integrated approach to finding efficiency solutions that positively affect market valuations, reduce environmental impact, meet ESG and sustainability goals, and ensure regulatory compliance.

What does the Reissued A/RCx Notice mean and why is it wonderful?

Recently, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) released a notice that they will allow building owners with the reissued A/RCx due date of September 7, 2023, to meet exemption with 2023 ENERGY STAR Certification, which previously they had not. This comes after Green Econome had advocated for the move on behalf of our EBEWE clients whose buildings are eligible for certification but leveraged the tolled deadlines afforded under the COVID emergency order. We feel it is fair for high-performing buildings to be exempt from the A/RCx report, and beneficial to the EBEWE program and the city at large to increase the number of ENERGY STAR Certified buildings throughout Los Angeles.

In plain English, there are many building owners that have not complied with EBEWE Phase II. Their understanding was that the entire program was ‘tolled’ or suspended while the COVID-19 Emergency Order was in place.

One of Mayor Bass’ initial efforts was to release this Emergency Order which also released the tolling of EBEWE Phase II deadlines.

Notices were recently sent out to buildings ending with Building IDs of 0, 1, 2, or 3 that the tolling was lifted and they were required to meet the compliance requirements. However, this lifting did not allow buildings to be ENERGY STAR certified as the window had passed if you didn’t conduct this certification the year it was required.

As you may know, we are big advocates of the available energy and water exemptions and ENERGY STAR Certification is Energy Exemption #1. Buildings must be eligible for this certification identified in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® software with an ENERGY STAR score of 75 and above. The ENERGY STAR scoring is from 1- 100 with 100 being the most energy efficient.

Along with this score, the property must have three tests conducted and verified by a licensed PE or Architect. The tests measure indoor air ventilation (quality), thermal comfort, and illumination (lighting). These test scores are then sent in an application to the EPA, which reviews the documentation and either approves or disapproves the samplings.

Why should you have your building ENERGY STAR Certified? Well besides having a nice blue decal on the entrance to your property advertising what a great building you own and operate, it has been proven by BOMA, CoStar, and others that ENERGY STAR Certified properties have higher sales prices and lease rates and lower vacancy rates.

So for those of you who want to invest in your properties, this is a wise investment! Contact us at (424) 422-9696 for information and a free quote for this certification. Please do not delay, especially if you are complying with the 9/1/23 deadline. Certification can take 2-3 months to complete.

About Green Econome

Green Econome is a woman-owned, small business providing energy and water efficiency compliance, consulting, and construction services for commercial real estate. Our Los Angeles-based team of licensed and credentialed professionals takes an integrated approach to finding efficiency solutions that positively affect market valuations, reduce environmental impact, meet ESG and sustainability goals, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Marika Erdely Headshot

Marika Erdely is the founder and CEO of Green EconoME. Before founding the company, she was CFO/VP at New Millennium Homes, a major home builder, and land developer, bringing with her nearly thirty years as an accounting professional. Marika has her Contractors License B & C-10 and is a LEED AP BD+C, Certified Energy Auditor, and Fitwel Ambassador. Marika holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Business Economics from UCSB.

Santa Monica, CA (March 28, 2023)—Green Econome is proud to announce that it has received the 2023 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Marika Erdely, Founder and CEO of Green Econome states, “Receiving this recognition for our partnership with the EPA and ENERGY STAR program is a significant milestone for our organization. Green Econome was founded to meet the demand for ENERGY STAR benchmarking as local and state energy disclosure laws were put into place over a decade ago. Green Econome is celebrating ten years of compliance services, so earning 2023 Partner of the Year is that much sweeter. We have benchmarked nearly 2,000 properties and pride ourselves on being a leader in accurate reporting and industry expertise. We wholeheartedly invest in ENERGY STAR as a trusted platform that we lean into for benchmarking, building certifications, and now GHG emissions metrics, data management for our client’s ESG goals, and driving reduction targets.”

“As we accelerate historic efforts to address climate change, public-private partnerships will be essential to realizing the scale of our ambition,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I applaud this year’s ENERGY STAR award winners for working with EPA to deliver a clean energy future that saves American consumers and businesses money and creates jobs.”

Each year, the ENERGY STAR program honors a select group of businesses and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the transition to a clean energy economy. ENERGY STAR award winners lead their industries in the production, sale, and adoption of energy-efficient products, homes, buildings, services, and strategies. These efforts are essential to fighting the climate crisis, protecting public health, and creating a clean energy future for everyone.

Winners are selected from a network of thousands of ENERGY STAR partners. Visit Green Econome's profile page, or for a complete list of 2023 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit energystar.gov/awardwinners.

About Green Econome

Green Econome is a woman-owned, small business providing energy and water efficiency compliance, consulting, and construction services for commercial real estate. Our Los Angeles-based team of licensed and credentialed professionals takes an integrated approach to finding efficiency solutions that positively affect market valuations, reduce environmental impact, meet ESG and sustainability goals, and ensure regulatory compliance.

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations rely on their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped American families and businesses avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs and achieve more than 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. More background information about ENERGY STAR’s impacts can be found at www.energystar.gov/impacts.

Media Contact:

Karalyn Honea
karalyn@greeneconome.com

UPDATE: The Tolling of Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency (EBEWE) Program Deadlines Has Ended. The New 'Reissued' Deadline is September 7, 2023.

We, as a city and wider community, reached a milestone at the end of February with the rescinding of the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Emergency Order. Included in the Executive Directive is the termination of 'tolling of Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency (EBEWE) deadlines. In short, you have to comply with EBEWE on-time this year and submit previous non-compliance by September 7, 2023.

Top 3 Takeaways For Tolled Deadline Compliance

  • The tolling (suspension) of EBEWE deadlines will end on February 28, 2023.
  • LA Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) sent a "reissued" Notice to Comply for any building not in compliance for impacted years on March 7, 2023.
  • You will have six (6) months from the notice issue date to submit compliance to LADBS. This means benchmarking and Phase II A/RCx compliance for any affected building must comply by September 7, 2023.

Top 3 Tips for EBEWE Compliance

  • If your building needs EBEWE benchmarking compliance this year, and for previous years, Green Econome can benchmark and submit compliance for all years, bringing you up to date by the annual June 1st deadline.
  • If your building requires EBEWE Audit & Retro-Commissioning (A/RCx) for compliance years 2021 or 2022, we recommend starting now. If your building doesn't meet an exemption and needs an ASHRAE Level II audit, allow a minimum of 3 months to comply.
  • Contact us with questions, or to get started on your EBEWE compliance. We are happy to help!
ORIGINAL STORY

The City's COVID-19 Public Emergency Order Impacts EBEWE Deadlines, While the Program Moves Forward

Good News! In the email titled, “UPDATE REGARDING TOLLING OF EXISTING BUILDINGS ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENCY (EBEWE) COMPLIANCE DATES” sent on Monday, October 24, 2022, by the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS), they announced that the deadline for EBEWE Phase II Audit / Retro-commissioning (A/RCx) requirements has been “tolled”, or delayed, yet again due to the City of Los Angeles Public Emergency Order (COVID-19), which is still in effect.

What Does This Mean? Three Facts You Need To Know About EBEWE Delays

  1. The December 1, 2022, deadline for buildings due to comply (LADBS Building ID ending with 2 or 3), has been delayed and late compliance will not be fined. This is an update to the already tolled deadlines for Phase I benchmarking program years 2019, 2020, and 2021, AND Phase II A/RCx compliance year 2021.
  2. Although the due dates have been paused while the emergency order is in effect, the program itself has not been paused. The city is encouraging all owners of covered buildings to submit data to continue developing energy and water efficiency programs.
  3. Tolling of Phase II A/RCx deadlines does not change your 5-year compliance timeframe. See the schedule below. This is particularly important for buildings seeking ENERGY STAR® Certification. Certification is independent of LADBS and adheres to the EPA’s application window, which is open until 12/9/22. You cannot submit for Certification of previous years.

What Does This Mean for My Building? Action Items for Compliance

It means that you’ve bought some time; and ultimately, your building should be both in compliance with annual benchmarking and the 5-year A/RCx requirements.

  • For Green Econome clients, we are moving forward as though the deadlines are in place and doing everything in our power to fulfill your compliance on time.
  • If you have let any of your reporting lapse, Green Econome can bring you up to date. We offer multi-year contracts with discounted pricing on retroactive benchmarking.
  • If you have not started Phase II A/RCx for your building(s), please reach out to us ASAP for proposals. Full ASHRAE audits can take 2-3 months to complete. Additionally, ASHRAE audits are costly, and not always necessary if exemptions can be met. We determine your least-cost route to compliance, based on your (accurate) benchmarking data.

Deadlines may wait, but the climate crisis won’t. Nor will the Climate Action Plans and transition to clean energy that the city, county, and state are drafting. Your ENERGY STAR® benchmarking and building performance data directly informs our local policy. Please participate.

The full notice can be viewed and downloaded here. If you have more questions regarding this program in general, view our Q&A presentation, and contact us at any time to discuss your buildings further.

ORIGINAL: The City's COVID-19 Public Emergency Order Impacts EBEWE Deadlines, While the Program Moves Forward

Good News! In the email titled, “UPDATE REGARDING TOLLING OF EXISTING BUILDINGS ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENCY (EBEWE) COMPLIANCE DATES” sent on Monday, October 24, 2022, by the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS), they announced that the deadline for EBEWE Phase II Audit / Retro-commissioning (A/RCx) requirements has been “tolled”, or delayed, yet again due to the City of Los Angeles Public Emergency Order (COVID-19), which is still in effect.

What Does This Mean? Three Facts You Need To Know About EBEWE Delays

  1. The December 1, 2022, deadline for buildings due to comply (LADBS Building ID ending with 2 or 3), has been delayed and late compliance will not be fined. This is an update to the already tolled deadlines for Phase I benchmarking program years 2019, 2020, and 2021, AND Phase II A/RCx compliance year 2021.
  2. Although the due dates have been paused while the emergency order is in effect, the program itself has not been paused. The city is encouraging all owners of covered buildings to submit data to continue developing energy and water efficiency programs.
  3. Tolling of Phase II A/RCx deadlines does not change your 5-year compliance timeframe. See the schedule below. This is particularly important for buildings seeking ENERGY STAR® Certification. Certification is independent of LADBS and adheres to the EPA’s application window, which is open until 12/9/22. You cannot submit for Certification of previous years.

What Does This Mean for My Building? Action Items for Compliance

It means that you’ve bought some time; and ultimately, your building should be both in compliance with annual benchmarking and the 5-year A/RCx requirements.

  • For Green Econome clients, we are moving forward as though the deadlines are in place and doing everything in our power to fulfill your compliance on time.
  • If you have let any of your reporting lapse, Green Econome can bring you up to date. We offer multi-year contracts with discounted pricing on retroactive benchmarking.
  • If you have not started Phase II A/RCx for your building(s), please reach out to us ASAP for proposals. Full ASHRAE audits can take 2-3 months to complete. Additionally, ASHRAE audits are costly, and not always necessary if exemptions can be met. We determine your least-cost route to compliance, based on your (accurate) benchmarking data.

Deadlines may wait, but the climate crisis won’t. Nor will the Climate Action Plans and transition to clean energy that the city, county, and state are drafting. Your ENERGY STAR® benchmarking and building performance data directly informs our local policy. Please participate.

The full notice can be viewed and downloaded here. If you have more questions regarding this program in general, view our Q&A presentation, and contact us at any time to discuss your buildings further.

ORIGINAL: The City's COVID-19 Public Emergency Order Impacts EBEWE Deadlines, While the Program Moves Forward

Good News! In the email titled, “UPDATE REGARDING TOLLING OF EXISTING BUILDINGS ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENCY (EBEWE) COMPLIANCE DATES” sent on Monday, October 24, 2022, by the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS), they announced that the deadline for EBEWE Phase II Audit / Retro-commissioning (A/RCx) requirements has been “tolled”, or delayed, yet again due to the City of Los Angeles Public Emergency Order (COVID-19), which is still in effect.

What Does This Mean? Three Facts You Need To Know About EBEWE Delays

  1. The December 1, 2022, deadline for buildings due to comply (LADBS Building ID ending with 2 or 3), has been delayed and late compliance will not be fined. This is an update to the already tolled deadlines for Phase I benchmarking program years 2019, 2020, and 2021, AND Phase II A/RCx compliance year 2021.
  2. Although the due dates have been paused while the emergency order is in effect, the program itself has not been paused. The city is encouraging all owners of covered buildings to submit data to continue developing energy and water efficiency programs.
  3. Tolling of Phase II A/RCx deadlines does not change your 5-year compliance timeframe. See the schedule below. This is particularly important for buildings seeking ENERGY STAR® Certification. Certification is independent of LADBS and adheres to the EPA’s application window, which is open until 12/9/22. You cannot submit for Certification of previous years.

What Does This Mean for My Building? Action Items for Compliance

It means that you’ve bought some time; and ultimately, your building should be both in compliance with annual benchmarking and the 5-year A/RCx requirements.

  • For Green Econome clients, we are moving forward as though the deadlines are in place and doing everything in our power to fulfill your compliance on time.
  • If you have let any of your reporting lapse, Green Econome can bring you up to date. We offer multi-year contracts with discounted pricing on retroactive benchmarking.
  • If you have not started Phase II A/RCx for your building(s), please reach out to us ASAP for proposals. Full ASHRAE audits can take 2-3 months to complete. Additionally, ASHRAE audits are costly, and not always necessary if exemptions can be met. We determine your least-cost route to compliance, based on your (accurate) benchmarking data.

Deadlines may wait, but the climate crisis won’t. Nor will the Climate Action Plans and transition to clean energy that the city, county, and state are drafting. Your ENERGY STAR® benchmarking and building performance data directly informs our local policy. Please participate.

The full notice can be viewed and downloaded here. If you have more questions regarding this program in general, view our Q&A presentation, and contact us at any time to discuss your buildings further.

“The increased risk of catastrophic wildfires poses an immediate threat to communities and properties throughout the state…[The state’s] electrical corporations must invest in hardening of the state’s electrical infrastructure and vegetation management to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.” Kevin Payne, Southern California Edison president and chief CEO, addressed head-on in his General Rate Case testimony the primary issue facing his company and other investor-owned utilities (IOUs) across the American West. Wildfires are an ongoing crisis, and energy companies are feeling the heat. SCE is next up for revenue increase approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and their request is in the billions. Although this does mean monthly rate increases to customers, it also signals something larger: the need for end-users to become part of the solution.

The General Rate Case

General Rate Cases (GRCs), are proceedings made by utility companies to the Public Utilities Commission to address the costs of operating and maintaining the utility system and the distribution of those costs among customer groups. Cases are made every three to four years. Although all providers are required to do this, the three largest IOUs bear the most significant impact. In California, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric have already submitted their applications for changes beginning in 2019 and 2020. SCE is in the final phase and approval is expected in early 2021.

The cost of power

SCE’s request represents a $1.295 billion, or 20.1% revenue increase in 2021. Increases for 2022 and 2023 are $366.5 and $534.2 million respectively. Although percentages vary across customer groups, this translates to approximately two cents more, per kWh in 2021. PG&E and SDG&E were not too far behind. PG&E asked for a $1.058 billion or 12.4% revenue hike for 2020. Rolling in third was SDG&E at a combined $2.199 billion revenue requirement, or an 11% increase over four years beginning in 2019.

What is it for?

The key reasons for SCE’s proposed increase are stated as:

  1. Reducing the risk of wildfires to keep the electric grid safe for the public and for SCE workers
  2. Reinforcing grid reliability and grid resiliency in case of emergency
  3. Improving customer service and communication, integrating distributed energy resources, and offering customers more choices to meet their needs

Top of the list, SCE is asking for more funding to help bolster wildfire prevention, risk monitoring, and emergency response. They will do this by adding new and enhanced safety measures like HD cameras and weather stations to detect ignitions. They will increase vegetation management, by continually removing potential fuel like branches and hazardous trees from power lines. They will perform system hardening or fixing bare wires to increase resilience and help further reduce wildfire risk.

Next, is SCE’s plan to upgrade technology and infrastructure to further grid safety, and modernization. Among other things, this means SCE still struggles to keep the power on. Urged by California’s clean energy reform, SCE continues to prioritize and invest in clean energy generation from customers connected to the grid. Stated as part of this, is integrating into the grid Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). Edison describes DERs as, “small scale local resources, often installed at a customer’s home or business, [that] can help meet California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, help customers reduce electricity use and support grid reliability.” Their robust programs and incentives provide compelling opportunities to building owners throughout California.

The case for clean and efficient energy

If you have already implemented or are considering self-generation like solar, and energy storage, here are some of the programs in place. Net Energy Metering, provides billing credits for surplus energy you “sell back” to the grid. Solar Power on Warehouse Rooftops program, is exactly what it sounds like. Providing your warehouse rooftop(s) as a sort of solar farm, for which you will both use the power and get paid for the surplus kWh. SOMAH is a community program for multi-family low-income housing, which offsets tenant cost and implements cleaner renewable energy. SGIP and green energy strategies are programs that provide clean energy solutions and help finance the cost of installation. These are only some of the opportunities to make self-generation easier to light up and quicker to pay back. 

Outside of self-generation, energy efficiency has always been a proven path to reducing your use and cost while qualifying for incentives. For example, enrolling in an energy solutions incentive program like Demand Response, or Express Solutions, may not only offset future rate increases to your site, but qualify you for further discounts, financing, or credits. The best part is that you chose the efficiency modalities that best suit your needs. For effective retrofit measures, visit our Energy Efficiency Retrofits page. Green EconoME’s work at Warner View Center spotlights the impact of integrating newer technologies and self-generation at a single site.  

Fires rage on across the western United States, holding up what seems to be a promise for climate change. If we do nothing, more extreme weather conditions and events will be our fearsome reality. The multi-faceted issue which is met with even more refracting opinions does hold one fact to be true. Wildfires come at an enormous expense and are taxing an aging infrastructure. If this isn’t the tipping point of real change in our behaviors and long-term investments into solutions, how will we be paying for it in GRC cycles to come? 

Visit the CPUC website to read the complete SCE application or to submit public comment. When you are ready to explore energy efficiency or self-generation options for your property, please contact us.