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Savings by Design Whole & System Approaches to High Performance Buildings

Posted by Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens
Mr. Stevens possesses over 20 years of proven corporate marketing, sponsorship and sales promotion experienc...
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on Saturday, 22 April 2017
in Green Building ·

To encourage owners to invest in energy efficiency as a major goal in their new buildings, financial incentives are available to owners when the efficiency of their new building exceeds the minimum Savings By Design threshold (generally 10% better than Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards).

There are two approaches to High Performance Buildings: Whole Building Approach & Systems Approach.

Whole Building Approach

Owner Incentives

The Whole Building Approach is the preferred method of achieving energy savings within Savings By Design.   Enabling the design team to consider integrated energy efficiency solutions that balance electric and gas use, may lead to buildings that offer:

  •  Greater health, comfort, and productivity for the occupant
  •  Reduced building and operating costs for the owner

In the Whole Building Approach, the estimated total annual energy savings for the building is calculated compared to the Title 24 minimum requirements. Using an approved computer tool, this analysis can be prepared by the design team, or by an energy consultant provided by the utility. Owner’s Incentives are available for projects estimated to exceed Title 24 or standard practice baseline by at least 10% on a whole building performance basis. Owner Incentives range from $0.10 - $0.30 per annualized kWh savings, with a step increase to $0.40 per annualized kWh savings for projects that exceed Title 24 by 40%, and $1.00 per annualized therm savings as the design becomes more efficient. Owners may also qualify for demand reduction incentives of $100 per kW.

Owners meeting program requirements may be eligible to receive additional incentives:

 End Use Monitoring Incentive

Each incentive is calculated as 10% or 20% of the Owner’s Incentive respectively.  The maximum incentive per project is $150,000.

Whole Building Incentives

Whole Building Incentives Chart

Systems Approach

The Systems Approach is a method of optimizing energy efficiency choices for less complex buildings.  By considering building systems holistically rather than as a collection of components, the Systems Approach encourages greater energy efficiency by designing “whole” building systems, rather than individual equipment or fixtures.  It’s a straightforward approach, and the Design Team may find it more appropriate for their project. 

Your Savings By Design Representative can help by: Using a simplified energy simulation modeling tool to help your team identify system options and quickly estimate the associated potential savings

 Identifying which systems qualify for potential Owner Incentives

Systems Approach Project Incentives are calculated using a flat incentive rate. Your Savings By Design representative can help you identify system options, quickly estimate the associated potential savings, and identify which systems qualify for generous incentives:                                                                                    

  • Daylighting
  • Interior Lighting
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Service Hot Water
  • Other Systems and Processes

Daylighting Systems

Daylighting has a major impact on a building’s functionality from many perspectives.  Not only does it decrease energy costs associated with illumination and space conditioning, it also enhances the building’s comfort and ambiance -- resulting in increased productivity of its occupants.   

Interior Lighting Systems

Interior lighting is a major component of any building’s energy use, enhancing the functionality of interior spaces.    Energy usage can be reduced with thoughtful attention to illumination requirements within the building, along with specifications for efficient components and appropriate controls.    

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems

The design of high-performance HVAC systems includes high-efficiency equipment and controls that regulate the system to allow operation only when it’s needed.  Thoughtful consideration of the interactions of all system elements can substantially increase comfort for building occupants while cutting costs for the building owner.  

Service Hot Water Systems

The use of high-efficiency natural gas hot water heaters can help to round out an overall approach to energy savings in the building design.   Facilities that use large amounts of hot water can see substantial savings when a high-efficiency system is used.  

Other Systems and Processes

A variety of process systems and controls not regulated by Title 24 can be considered for the Savings By Design program.  Current industry standard practice is used to establish a reference point from which estimated energy savings are determined for manufacturing, refrigeration, food processing, mechanical ventilation systems and other systems and processes.

Systems Approach Incentives

Systems Approach Incentive Rates

For more information on this program, please visit

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To discuss how your company and project can benefit from our services as well if there are representation opportunities, please contact Michel (Michael) Stevens, President, at (800) 260-6008 ext. 301 PST or mstevens[at]greenprojectmarketing[dot]com. Skype ID: GreenProjMktg.