Sustainable Choices: Energy Efficiency

The cleanest and least expensive energy is the energy you don’t use. The “nega-watt” is an important component to decarbonizing our electric grid and supporting social equity. Not only does it have zero carbon emissions, but installing efficient measures also saves households money, reduces strain on the grid, and improves the quality of life in our homes and businesses.

Multifamily Energy Savings Program
MCE’s Multifamily Energy Savings Program offers complimentary walk-through energy assessments and technical assistance to identify energy and water saving opportunities for apartments and other multi-unit dwellings. Once the opportunities are identified, we then provide cash rebates to implement upgrades, assist with contractor bid solicitations, train maintenance staff, and offer a free installation of efficient equipment.

Low Income Families and Tenants Pilot Program
A recent addition to the Multifamily program is the Low Income Families and Tenants Pilot Program, which provides an additional $1,200 per unit for eligible properties with tenants at or below 200% Federal Poverty Guidelines. It also offers cutting-edge electric heat pumps to these properties at no cost.

Small Commercial Energy Savings Program
MCE also offers a Small Commercial Energy Savings Program, which targets restaurants, retail spaces, offices and other non-residential properties to offer technical assistance, cash incentives, and turn-key contracting and procurement at low or no cost to customers. Eligible businesses can use rebates to upgrade their facilities, modernize their storefronts, and save money by doing so.

Outcomes and Achievements
From 2013-2017, these programs have successfully completed audits of 2,865 small businesses, completing 688 unique projects, and distributing approximately $832,000 in total rebates to modernize and save money for our local businesses. Additionally, we’ve audited 83 multifamily properties and provided direct installation of efficiency technology in 1,748 units, distributing a total of $551,700 to property owners.

As the lasting legacy of one of our first and most fervent advocates, Barbara George, MCE is one of the only Community Choice agencies providing energy efficiency measures in California. So far, MCE’s energy efficiency programs have reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing more than 1,000 gas-fueled cars from the road for one year. We hope to honor her memory with the continued success of these programs.

This post is part of a series inspired by the California Community Choice Association’s (CalCCA) “Beyond Supplier Diversity” report. The series will detail MCE’s contributions and efforts to advance equity within our communities, including training local residents to access living-wage, green-collar jobs for a just transition to tomorrow’s clean energy economy.

MCE was the primary author of the CalCCA report, which highlights CCA initiatives throughout the state that align with the intent and spirit of General Order (GO) 156: the CPUC’s Utility Supplier Diversity Program. This program tracks the proportion of utility contracting that employs diverse vendors while overseeing a Clearinghouse of certified businesses that are majority women-owned, minority-owned, LGBT-owned (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), or disabled veteran-owned.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for our final installment of Powering Equity & Inclusion: MCE’s Community Benefit Efforts, which will focus on MCE’s autonomy, priorities, and community engagement.

For the full CalCCA report, including information sources, click here.

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