State Policy Drivers

One of the biggest drivers for ZNE has been the goals set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, which was developed in 2008 and updated in 2011. The plan sets targets for:

  • All new residential construction to be ZNE by 2020,
  • All new and 50% of existing state-owned public buildings to be ZNE by 2025, and
  • All new and 50% of existing commercial buildings to be ZNE by 2030.

Working alongside these targets, several other State measures exist to incentivize ZNE, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction, and energy efficiency within the built environment, which are summarized below:

Year Measure Highlights
2006 AB 32: California Global Warming Solutions Act Requires the state to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
2008, updated 2011 Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan
  • Requires all new residential construction ZNE by 2020
  • Requires all new and 50% existing state-owned public buildings ZNE by 2025
  • Requires all new and 50% existing commercial buildings ZNE by 2030
  • Requires 75% of existing homes have a 30% decrease in purchased energy from 2008 levels
  • Requires 25% reduction in plug loads by 2020
2007-2015 AB 1103 Required non-residential building owners to benchmark energy use in advance of sale, lease, financing, or refinancing of whole buildings. Ended December 31, 2015; a new benchmarking program is being developed through AB 802.
2009 AB 758 Requires the CEC to develop a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy efficiency in the state’s existing buildings.
2012 Executive Order B-18-12
  • Requires state agencies, departments, and other entities to reduce GHG emissions by at least 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline.
  • Requires all new State buildings and major renovations designed after 2025 be constructed as ZNE facilities (with an interim target for 50% of new facilities designed after 2020 to be ZNE).
  • Requires State Agencies to achieve ZNE in 50% of the square footage of existing state-owned building by 2025.
2013 Updated CA Energy Code (Title 24, Part 6) Requires new homes to be 24% more energy efficient and new commercial buildings to be more 30% more energy efficient. Also requires “solar-ready roofs” for new buildings.
2013 CA Green Building Standards Code (Title 24, Part 11) Used in conjunction with other parts of Title 24 to achieve code compliance and meet minimum standards in 5 areas: planning and design, energy efficiency (Title 24, Part 6), water conservation and efficiency, materials conservation and resource efficiency, environmental quality
2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report The CEC defines ZNE using the 2013 definition of “single project level.” Emphasizes high levels of energy efficiency as a requirement for ZNE.  Each single project seeking development entitlements and building permits would be required to install sufficient renewable energy resources on-site to reduce the TDV energy value of the project to zero.
2014 Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program (AB 1103) Mandated benchmarking for existing nonresidential buildings and disclosure of energy use score upon financing, lease, or sale.  Ended December 31, 2015; a new benchmarking program is being developed through AB 802.
2015 Executive Order B-30-15 Establishes a GHG reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
2015 SB 350/Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 Requires increase of electricity from renewable sources from 33 to 50% by 2050. Requires double the energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas through conservation and energy efficiency.
2015 AB 802
  • Requires the CEC to create a benchmarking and disclosure program for multifamily and commercial building owners to better understand their energy consumption.
  • Requires buildings owners to have access to their energy usage information. The CEC may require submission of demand forecasts, resource plans, market assessments, related outlooks, individual customer historic electric or gas service usage, or both, and individual customer historic billing data, to conduct energy assessments every two years.
2016 Updated CA Energy Code (Title 24, Part 6) Contains various energy and water efficiency requirements, as well as indoor air quality requirements, for newly constructed buildings, additions to existing buildings, and alterations to existing buildings.