ENERGY BEST PRACTICE
Business Energy Evaluations
Chula Vista, CA
To create incentives for businesses to undergo energy and water related retrofits, improving the overall efficiency of operating facilities while decreasing annual operating costs.
In the first year of implementation, 72% of contacted businesses participated in the free program, with 71% of this group actually implementing one or more recommendations from the evaluations. About one-third of those businesses experienced immediate utility bill cost savings.
Background & Summary
On December 8th, 2009, the Free Resource & Energy Business Evaluations (FREBE) program was put into effect by the City Council. In previous years, staff developed a voluntary program to encourage businesses to participate in an energy and water evaluation of their facilities. However, after the passing of this recent ordinance, businesses are now required to complete an evaluation in the calendar year when a new business license is issued or every four years for an existing license. The on-site evaluation itself is performed by City staff and is approximately 30 minutes in length; from the retrofits or improvements identified, businesses are solely encouraged to take action – but not required.
City staff inspects and reviews the following key areas for improvement:
- The building’s systems: lighting, cooling, heating
- Exterior support: windows, doors, insulation
- Office equipment and appliances
- Operational procedures
- Utility bills
The main benefits of the program include the free of charge assistance with:
- Identifying the most efficient ways to reduce energy and water costs
- Calculating energy and water rebate support and other financing options
- Deciphering best energy efficient devices (compact fluorescent light bulbs, smart power stirps, etc.)
- Tracking and recording energy and water usage and costs
If a business fails to adhere to perform an evaluation after multiple notices, they are issued a $15 fine – or equal to 5% of a business license fee – while incurring a 6% annual interest rate.
Public Outreach & Education:
Before officially in effect, the City invited multiple local community and stakeholder groups to assess feasibility and consolidate overall public attitude regarding the proposed ordinance.
After the ordinance was approved, the City mails a reminder at the start of each year along with a business license renewal; new businesses receive this information with a license application.
Staff is currently working to secure funds to maintain the evaluations in addition to additional climate change measures proposed by City Council. In effect, if the program is not provided with long-term funding, it will be reassessed for realistic viability.
Contact for This Best Practice
Name: Brendan Reed
Job Title: Environmental Resource Manager
Jurisdiction: City of Chula Vista, Department of Conservation & Environmental Services
Phone: (619) 409-5889
Last updated February 1, 2011
THIS BEST PRACTICE
- FREBE Ordinance (.pdf)
- Municipal Code Amendment (.doc)
- FREBE City Council Agenda Statement (.pdf)
- FREBE FAQ (.pdf)
- FREBE Flyer (.pdf)
- FREBE Program Highlights (.pdf)
ENERGY BEST PRACTICES
- Business Energy Evaluations
Chula Vista, CA
- Commercial Building Energy Efficiency
San Francisco, CA
- Induction Streetlights
San Diego, CA
- LED Streetlights
Los Angeles, CA
- Streetlight Policy
San Jose, CA