Energy Efficiency

Our Energy Efficiency Services

  • Program design & implementation
  • Strategic marketing & communications
  • Training & technical assistance
  • Community development
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Program administration
  • Technical regulatory support

BayREN Multifamily

BayREN, a collaboration of the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area, implements energy saving programs on a regional level. BayREN represents 20% of California’s population.

BKi contributes to the program’s success by leading a team of field analysts and quality assurance specialists who engage multifamily property owners and guide them through the rebate scoping and application process. Participants receive in-field and remote technical assistance to ensure their applications meet program requirements. BKi reviews and approves applications for rebate payment.

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The Multifamily program’s average project size is 67 units, with 16% average estimated savings.

SMUD Single Family Home Performance Program

Working with Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Efficiency First-California, BKi designed and implements a single family energy efficiency upgrade program that builds success by putting customers and contractors first.

We removed a significant barrier to contractor participation by creating a streamlined menu-based rebate structure to replace the lengthy whole-house modeling requirement.

Homeowners give top marks to our efficient review of their projects, and contractors appreciate our same-day responses to their questions.

These streamlined processes contributed to the SMUD Program achieving the highest market penetration among utility-sponsored whole-house upgrade programs in California.

Our commitment to meeting the needs of all participants—SMUD, contractors, and customers—continues to drive an effective program, resulting in increased uptake and greater energy savings.

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smud-logoSince program launch in December 2010, 2,580 Sacramento-area households have reduced their electricity bills and improved their comfort with energy upgrades provided by a SMUD HPP participating contractor. BKi has processed more than $7.2 million in rebates for Sacramento-area customers.

Single Family Residential Rebate Programs

The BKi team has created and implemented several single-family residential rebate programs. Under the Recovery Act, BKi created Flex Path to bring energy upgrades to a broader range of homeowners by removing barriers to program participation such as upfront costs for pre-inspections and overly complex application processes. Our solution featured a menu-based list of upgrades with point values based on energy savings. Homeowners select the measures best suited to their budgets and needs.

“I could not ask for a better team to work with. … Flex Path allowed me to offer rebates to my customers.” Allen Puig, Flex Path Participating Contractor
Piloted under Energy Upgrade California® in Los Angeles County, the program saw 1,698 projects completed in ten months—far exceeding the initial goal of 500 projects, and yielding participants an average of 15% modeled energy savings.

Following the demonstrated success of the Flex Path approach, BKi led the evolution of Flex Path for implementation in a statewide, ratepayer-funded Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program. We act as the program implementer under the Southern California Regional Energy Network, also known as The Energy Network.

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Governale6_lawnsign-webHomeowners across Los Angeles County are completing energy efficient Home Upgrade projects and sharing their pride with their Home Upgrade lawn signs. BKi implements the Home Upgrade program for The Energy Network, including marketing, contractor education, and rebate processing.

Community Development

Working with The Energy Network, BKi provides design and administration services for the Low-income Single Family Rehabilitation Program, a pilot designed to connect the clients of the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC) program to the Home Upgrade program through outreach efforts and coordination of the two programs’ requirements.

The Low-income program assists CDC clients in understanding the Home Upgrade measures they are eligible for and how these measures can be integrated into the rehabilitation work on their homes. Additionally, contractors qualified to participate in CDC programs are encouraged to become Participating Contractors in Home Upgrade program by completing the requisite training. Program administrators coordinate the requirements for contractor participation in both programs.

BKi manages efforts between the CDC Home Improvement Program and The Energy Network Home Upgrade Program. We train CDC staff on program requirements and counsel on program integration. BKi also provides training to CDC contractors in whole house retrofitting and successful participation in both programs.

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Watch a video of Carmen Torres, homeownerWatch a video of Carmen Torres, who upgraded her home and got relief from cooling and heating problems and a rebate to boot. The Low-income Single Family Rehabilitation Program makes it easier for homeowners like Carmen to benefit from energy upgrades.

Los Angeles County Home Energy Loans

BKi administers Home Energy Loans, along with Matadors Community Credit Union. The single family financing program provides loans for home efficiency upgrades under Energy Upgrade California.

Homeowners in The Energy Network’s territory can apply online for loans ranging from $2,500 to $50,000.

HomeLoansTo make the program attractive to homeowners, the BKi team eliminated barriers such as prepayment penalties and closing costs, and structured interest rates and payback periods to give homeowners choices. We also set up a loan loss reserve to protect the lending institution and lower interest rates by mitigating default risk.

As of November 2016, 505 Home Energy Loans had been funded for a total value of $8.5 million. The loans encourage more comprehensive efficiency upgrade projects, resulting in higher energy savings for the homeowner and utilities.

Loan applications are reviewed for credit worthiness by the financial institution and then by BKi to ensure program requirements are met. BKi reconciles and reports on all transactions and manages cash flow between the escrow and reserve accounts.

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Contractor Outreach & Training

The  Energy Network is a local government energy network covering all or portions of twelve counties in southern and central California, with leadership provided by Los Angeles County.

BKi launched an intensive contractor recruitment and enrollment effort in 2013 for The Energy Network. We needed to revitalize the contractor pool and institute changes to counter declining contractor enrollment that had resulted under a previous administration. We created easy-to-use tools and information for contractors and developed 1-on-1 training sessions that combine technical education with business guidance. Backed by an extensive outreach campaign, we succeeded in invigorating the contractor pool—averaging 36% growth in new contractors per month.

Responsiveness to contractor needs anchors our approach. We utilize established strategies, even as we continue to incorporate new ideas based on contractor feedback and our own assessments.

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EE-training-194523560An empowered and engaged contractor workforce is essential to the success of retrofit programs. BKi trains contractors to serve as trusted energy efficiency advisors to home and building owners—benefitting their customers and growing their businesses, while contributing substantially to energy savings goals.

Contractor Co-op – The Energy Network

Energy efficiency home upgrades are gaining increased exposure in Los Angeles County neighborhoods due to contractors whose work vehicles, employee apparel, and marketing collateral carry not only their own logos but those of the rebate programs they promote.

BKi created Contractor Co-op after identifying a need by participating  contractors for co-branded marketing, equipment purchases and calibration, and training. The approach gives a 50% cash-back rebate on pre-approved materials that include program logos and messaging for marketing projects and Home Upgrade equipment and training. The matching funds have enabled contractors to develop customized marketing materials that advertise their companies and carry branding of energy efficiency rebate programs, as well as supplement their participation in the Home Upgrade program with the necessary equipment and training.

The popularity of Contractor Co-op among Participating Contractors has resulted in hundreds of successful projects, creating higher visibility for their companies and helping boost participation in home rebate programs in The Energy Network’s territory.

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Contractor Coop MarketingTo shape a successful program, we elicited contractor needs through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions.
We developed guidelines and graphics standards for brand compliance and built an online Contractor Portal to facilitate contractors’ project submission, track reimbursements, and enable data analysis.

Codes & Standards

The Bay Area Regional Energy Network’s (BayREN) Codes and Standards Program is a joint effort by nine Bay Area counties to reduce energy and water use in buildings by accelerating compliance with the California Energy Code and local reach codes.

Codes and standardsSince 2013, BKi has coordinated efforts between the Association of Bay Area Governments, the BayREN counties, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission to reduce barriers to energy code compliance and develop code enforcement best practices.

We have helped organize 13 bi-monthly forums where over 600 participants have discussed best practices and policy considerations. We have also developed and delivered over 100 Title 24 trainings with an attendance count by building department staff of over 1,000.

The BKi team developed and maintains BayREN’s online library “Energy Codes & Standards Best Practices and Resources.”

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Technical Regulatory Support

Two California Regional Energy Networks (RENs) were established in 2012 to complement the utility programs by leveraging energy efficiency expertise at the local government level. With oversight from the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), each REN establishes and administers a suite of programs tailored to the region they serve.

On behalf of the Bay Area REN and the Southern California REN (The Energy Network), BKi coordinates REN technical strategy and positioning within the CPUC’s regulatory framework.

We sustain a high level of engagement with the CPUC, its consultants, and REN stakeholders as part of this analytical support initiative. Our work helps coordinate regulatory compliance/negotiation on attribution and energy savings claims across REN efficiency incentive programs.

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An important component of BKi’s work is to negotiate with CPUC and IOUs to develop a reporting approach for retrofit and financing programs where standard reporting practices are ill-suited to properly represent the data needed for regulatory evaluation.