Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions? We have answers!
Here are the answers to your frequently asked questions.
Program Overview and Policies
Savings By Design (SBD) is California’s nonresidential new construction energy efficiency program, administered statewide and funded by Utility customers through the Public Purpose Programs surcharge applied to gas and electric services. Participating utilities include:
- Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)
- San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E)
- Southern California Edison Company (SCE)
- Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)
- Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
Projects participating in Savings By Design receive services including design assistance, Owners Incentives, Design Team Incentives, and Energy Design Resources. Services begin in the project design phase and continue through construction completion.
Savings By Design targets the primary decision-makers in new construction and renovation/remodeling projects including:
- Building Owners
- Energy Consultants
To be eligible for Savings By Design, projects must be:
- At a point where design changes are feasible, preferably in the conceptual or schematic design phase
- Located in the service territory of a participating Utility and subject to payment of Public Goods Charge (PGC) for electric service and/or the gas surcharge for gas service
- Within the definition of new construction
Program Approaches to Energy Efficient Buildings
Using computer simulation, Whole Building analysis provides reliable comparisons of various efficiency alternatives and quantifies the effect of improving the building’s systems.
Significant Owner’s incentives (up to $150,000) are available for projects estimated to exceed Title 24 or standard practice baseline by at least 10% on a whole building performance basis. Owners meeting program requirements may be eligible to receive additional incentives:
- Enhanced Commissioning Incentive
- End Use Monitoring Incentive
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 (up to $150,000):
- Interior Lighting
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
- Service Hot Water
- Other Systems and Processes
Cost and Incentives
Incentive payments are issued after construction completion is confirmed by an on-site verification and when all other required documentation has been received.
No, incentives are paid in the form of a check.
Incentives vary by project and may range anywhere from $500 to $150,000.
No, in fact design assistance and consulting is offered at no charge to the Owner or the Design Team. The level of assistance provided for a project varies based on the program approach—Whole Building or Systems. Assistance may be as simple as providing plan review and recommendations or may be as involved as full energy modeling with financial analysis on multiple options for energy efficient systems. Receiving design assistance does not obligate the Owner to implement the design recommendations.
General Program Questions
The Design Team is the group responsible for the design and implementation of the systems that affect the building’s overall energy consumption. The Design Team generally includes the building owner, project architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, lighting designer, energy consultant, and contractor.
At a point where design changes are feasible, preferably in the conceptual or schematic design phase.
Savings By Design is a natural complement to LEED. Participating Savings By Design projects have many attributes that directly correlate with LEED certification requirements, so we encourage you to inquire with your local program representative, for further information.
Projects have 48 months from the date of approval to complete construction.
Contact your utility early in the design process to learn about program options and check funding availability.