Rincon has been honored with a Financing Innovation: Low-Carbon Energy Award from the Climate Change Business Journal (CCBJ) for our efforts leading the Berkeley Existing Building Electrification Plan. CCBJ is a business research publication that provides high-value strategic business intelligence to the environmental and climate change industry.
Rincon has been working with the City of Berkeley to prepare the Berkeley Existing Building Electrification Plan (BEEP), an effort to retrofit the City’s building stock to utilize 100% electricity and fully leverage Senate Bill (SB) 100 (carbon-free electricity by 2045) and decarbonize the building sector. The BEEP aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings, improve the health of citizens, provide long-term cost savings, allow for increased resilience, and to ensure these benefits are equitably distributed. This first-of-its-kind project includes a building-by-building energy model, analysis of permit data, local cost estimates for electrification retrofits, and the development of equity guardrails for all policy decisions.
Rincon and teaming partners at the Rocky Mountain Institute found electrification retrofits to be cost-effective in most cases over the long term, but with higher upfront costs when compared to natural gas appliance replacements. Through extensive engagement with the community, Rincon and the Ecology Center found these upfront costs to be a potential equity impact. Using this feedback, a series of equity guardrails were developed to ensure electrification strategies provided equitable costs, access to improvements, access to economic benefits, and to ensure that upgrading the building stock does not contribute to displacement. These guardrails shifted Berkeley’s electrification strategies towards a longer-term strategy that first works through legislative hurdles and identifies the financing strategies and renter protections that meet community needs while still making progress over the short term on existing building electrification. Look for the complete public review draft to become available in mid-April.
The 2020 CCBJ awards were presented at a Virtual Awards Ceremony on March 12.
Congratulations to all who contributed to this award-winning project!
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