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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sonoma County Energy Indpendence Program

Sonoma County Energy Independence Program Created
What you can do to become more energy independent and how Sonoma County is helping in this process. We have more information coming on this subject and will keep this item updated as it comes in - please scroll down for recent additions to this information.

By Jim Toomey
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted a Resolution of Intention to create the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP). Sonoma County is the first county in California to create a program using authority granted under Assembly Bill 811. Formal adoption of the program is expected to take place at the Board’s meeting on March 24th. The program is expected to play a key role in the County’s efforts to combat climate change, with the added benefit of promoting “green” jobs and businesses.

SCEIP enables property owners to fund renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water efficiency upgrades to their business or residential properties through the property tax system.

Participants enter into contractual assessments, which are paid back along with their property taxes over a period of up to twenty years. The SCEIP assessment is tied to the properties, not the owners, and is therefore passed from one owner to the next. A list of acceptable water and energy improvements is attached as Appendix A of the SCEIP report. Projects not on the list will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

“This program is an innovative new way for people to make energy saving improvements to their homes and businesses,” said Supervisor Valerie Brown. “The improvements will add value to their properties, provide energy and cost savings throughout their lifetimes, and help the environment,” she said. “It’s a triple whammy.”

“For years, Sonoma County has made efforts to reduce the climatic effect of county operations,” said Supervisor Paul Kelley. “This program is exciting because it extends far beyond county government. It enables residents throughout the county to take positive steps toward combating climate change. Yet another benefit of this program is that it will generate “green” business and new “green” jobs,” Kelley said.

At first, only residents of unincorporated areas will qualify for SCEIP. However, all nine cities in Sonoma County have expressed a desire to participate, and are working on agreements with the County to make it possible. The agreements are expected to be completed in the near future. Property owners interested in taking advantage of SCEIP may place their names on an interest list by calling 547-1981. Applications will be made available on line and at the SCEIP storefront located at 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa.


Water Conservation Measure

Residential Indoor Water Conservation Measures
• High Efficiency toilets (Average flush volume of 1.28 gallons or less)
• Showerheads (1.75 gpm or less)
• Bathroom aerators (1.5 gpm)
• Hot Water Delivery Options, as defined by the Energy Star “Volumetric Hot
Water Savings Guidelines”
* Hot water recirculation systems - use a hot water circulating pump to pump hot water from the water heater, through the hot water piping, and on back to the water heater through an additional length of pipe that runs from the furthest fixture back to the water heater.
* Demand initiated hot water systems- use a recirculation pump to rapidly pull hot water from a water heater while simultaneously sending cooled-off water from the hot water lines back to the water heater to be reheated.
* Whole house manifold system- A manifold connected to the water heater from which individual pipes are connected to each water fixture.
* Core plumbing system- Hot water distribution system where water volumes in the pipes are reduced by a combination of smaller pipe diameters and shorter pipe runs due to a centrally located water heater.
• Demand initiated water softeners (Energy Star rated)
• Hot water pipe insulation (minimum of R4)

Residential Outdoor Water Conservation Measures
• Irrigation Control systems, with “Evapotranspiration” based controllers or Smart irrigation controllers- irrigation controllers that automatically adjust based on the weather conditions, plant material, slope, etc.
• Rainwater cisterns
• Matched precipitation rate sprinkler heads- multi-stream spray head that provides high uniformity and a low application rate sprinkler with matched precipitation, even after arc and radius adjustment.
• Highly Efficient Outdoor irrigation

Commercial Water Conservation Measures
• All applicable water conservation measures listed for “Residential Indoor”
• Pre-rinse spray valves (1.2gpm or less)
• Urinals (1 Pint or less)
• Waterless Urinals
• Bathroom aerators (0.5 gpm)

Commercial Custom Measures
• Industrial Process Water Use Reduction
• Recycled Water Source
• Deionization
• Filter Upgrades
• Cooling Condensate reuse
• Foundation Drain Water
• Cooling Tower Conductivity Controllers
• Highly Efficient Outdoor irrigation
• Irrigation Control systems, with “Evapotranspiration” based controllers or Smart irrigation controllers- irrigation controllers that automatically adjust based on the weather conditions, plant material, slope, etc.

Energy Efficiency Measures
The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program provides services and funding for a wide range of Energy Star-rated efficiency measures, including many Energy Efficiency measures for which property owners can get rebates as well as SCEIP funding. Excepting

HVAC equipment as noted below, efficiency measures must meet the performance criteria stated in the list of Eligible Improvements or the Energy Star minimum efficiency levels.

For all packaged and central air conditioning systems funded in this program, the minimum efficiency levels shall be as required by the current minimum requirements set forth in List of Eligible Improvements.

All other proposed efficiency measures will be considered in the Custom Measure Track.

The County of Sonoma anticipates that Energy Star requirements will “ratchet up” to greater efficiency levels over time. Energy Star will also become more inclusive of technologies over time. Thus the SCEIP will evolve with Energy Star and the market for energy-efficient technologies.

The following Energy Star measures – among others – are eligible in the Efficiency Track.

Residential Energy Efficiency Measures
• Geothermal Exchange Heat Pumps
• Minimum Efficiencies
• Ground source exchange open loop system 17.8 EER or higher
• Ground source exchange closed loop system 15.5 EER or higher HVAC Systems
• HVAC Systems
• Minimum Efficiencies
• Split systems with 14 SEER and 12 EER or higher rating
• Natural Gas Furnaces of 90 AFUE or higher
• Package systems with 14 SEER and 11 EER or higher rating
• Home Energy Management Control systems
• Whole House Fan Systems
• Duct insulation, meeting Energy Star guideline
• Evaporative Coolers
• Cooler must have a separate ducting system from air conditioning and heating ducting system
• maximum 5 gallons/ton-hour cooling
• Natural Gas Storage Water Heater, EF of 0.62 or higher and Energy Star Listed
• Tankless Water Heater, EF of 0.82 or higher and Energy Star Listed
• Solar Water Heater Systems, rated by Solar Rating Certification Council
• Cool Roof System as defined by the 2005 California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (also called the California Energy Code). Roofing replacement eligible under this program shall be:
• Tested and rated through the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC);
• Be labeled for its initial reflectance and initial emittance as determined in the CRRC tests and be labeled that the product meets Title 24, Section 118(i);
• Achieve at least a 0.75 initial emittance and 0.70 initial reflectance or, if the initial emittance is less than 0.75, have an initial reflectance of at least [0.70 + {0.34 x (0.75 – initial emittance)}];*and. if applied as a liquid coating in the field, be applied at a minimum dry mil thickness of 20 mils* across the entire roof surface and meet performance requirements listed in the table shown immediately below:
• Reflective roofs and coatings
• Attic and Wall insulation, minimum R value 30 and Energy Star Listed
• Reflective insulation or radiant barriers
• Attic Fans
• Windows and Glass Doors, U Value of 0.40 or less and Solar Heat Gain coefficient of 0.40 or less
• Window Filming, in compliance with the NFRC glazing attachment ratings for solar heat a gain and visible transmittance
• Weather-stripping, following Energy Star guidelines
• Skylights, U Value of 0.60 or less and Solar Heat Gain coefficient of 0.40 or less
• Solar Tubes
• Additional building openings to provide addition natural light, Windows and Doors must meet the Energy Star rating U Value of 0.40 or less Lighting , Energy Star Listed (no bulb only retrofits)
• Pool Equipment - Pool circulating pumps (must be Variable Flow and/or Multi-speed with controllers)

Residential Energy efficiency Custom Measures
• Passive Solar (heating/cooling)

Commercial Energy Efficiency Measures
Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Systems (“HVAC”)
• Minimum Efficiencies
• Split systems with 14 SEER or 12 EER
• Package systems with 13 SEER or 11 EER
All applicable energy efficiency measures listed in “Residential” section

Commercial Custom Energy Efficiency Measures
• Building Energy Management Systems,
• Lighting Control Systems, which shall include occupancy sensors and other energy saving measures
• HVAC duct zoning control systems
• Motors and controls (processing or manufacturing equipment)
• Geothermal Exchange Heat Pumps
• High Efficiency electric hand dryer
• Customer Electric vehicle plug-in station

Solar Equipment

Solar Track funding is available for a wide range of solar equipment. SCEIP funding will be available for photovoltaic equipment and installers listed by the California Energy

Commission. Solar thermal equipment must be rated by the Solar Rating Certification Council (SRCC). As with efficiency measures, the property owner maintains the discretion as to whether to prepay a portion of the gross assessment with any solar rebates and tax credits.

Eligible solar equipment for both Residential and Commercial properties include:
• Solar thermal systems (hot water)
• Photovoltaic systems (electricity)
• Battery back-up systems will be allowed
• Funding for off-grid systems will be allowed
• PV systems can be sized to accommodate plug-in electric vehicles
• Plug in stations
• Emerging Technologies – following the Custom Measures Track
• Nano/thin film photovoltaic
• High intensity (parabolic solar panels)

Custom Measures
The County of Sonoma encourages innovation in saving energy to meet its energysavings goals. Custom Measures will only be funded for SCEIP funding if sufficient proof of energy savings is provided to the SCEIP staff/Auditors Office that the measure will reduce usage by 20%. The SCEIP staff/Auditor reserves the right to defer funding until he deems the evidence sufficient to verify this performance requirement.

The following types of measures – among others – will be considered for SCEIP funding through the Custom Measure Track:

Energy Efficiency Custom Measures
• Alternative energy generation (other than photovoltaic)
• Building Energy Management controls
• HVAC Duct zoning control systems
• Irrigation pumps and controls
• Lighting controls
• Industrial and Process Equipment motors and controls

As these “Custom Measures” become Energy Star rated they will be included in the List of Eligible Improvements.

Energy Generation Custom Measures
• Fuel Cells
• Natural Gas
• Hydrogen fuel
• Other Fuel sources (emerging technologies)
• Co-generation (heat and energy)

UPDATE - STOREFRONT NOW OPEN: $100 Million Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) Storefront Location in Santa Rosa

SCEIP , 404 Aviation Blvd. Santa Rosa, CA

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors officially opened the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) at the program’s storefront. SCEIP is the first county program of its kind in California. Sonoma County and its partners have pledged $100 million to start the program. Upon adoption, the storefront is now “open for business” and program staff are available to take applications and answer questions.

SCEIP is a program to finance energy efficiency and water conservation projects for business and residential property owners. The program provides initial financing, and the property owners repay the program through an assessment on their property taxes. The program is expected to have a profound impact on energy and water conservation efforts throughout Sonoma County, and is also expected to provide an economic boost to the “green” building industry.

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