California devises program to cut building emissions

California energy regulators are crafting a pilot program with incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new residential buildings. It will initially focus on low-income residential housing to address the economic disparities highlighted by COVID-19.

The Building Initiative for Low-Emissions Development (BUILD) program in California is designed to provide building owners and developers with incentives to use technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut customer bills in new residential buildings, according to an article on Smart Cities Dive. Around a quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to come from buildings.

BUILD is “one of our major clean energy initiatives,” Clifford Rechtschaffen, commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission, said at a workshop, as reported in the article. He added that the pilot would have a strong focus on equality, “given the economic dislocation and the economic disparities laid bare by COVID”.

The aim of the program is to provide incentives for new residential housing that is “at a minimum, all-electric, given the state’s policy commitment to a zero-GHG electricity supply by 2045”, according to the article. For the first two years, the incentives will be reserved for developers of low-income residential housing.

The launch of the program is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021

Image credit: Matt Biddulph, flickr/Creative Commons

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