Striving for Equity in 3C-REN Programming
In 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission approved 3C-REN as a Program Administrator (PA), unlocking our ability to access energy-efficiency ratepayer funding. Becoming a PA lets us deliver local energy-efficiency programs to hard-to-reach customers and ensure a more equitable distribution of funds throughout our region.
3C-REN strives to create accessible programs and resources that meet the needs of hard-to-reach customers. Some of the progress we’ve made includes:
- Our Single-Family Home Energy Savings program provided free and discounted electric-powered heat pump water heaters (197 of them!) along with installation of smart thermostats, low-flow showerheads, and attic insulation at three farmworker housing complexes.
- Our new Multi-Family Home Energy Savings program offers enhanced incentives for underserved properties: While the standard rebate is $500/unit, underserved properties can receive up to $750/unit. Homeless shelters, hospices, and women’s shelters are also eligible for these increased incentives.
- We’ve worked with an equity consultant to make requests for proposals and programs more accessible and to provide staff equity trainings. This has enhanced our ability to build trust, identify areas of inequity, and increase our engagement with diverse communities.
In 2022, we are excited to expand outreach with Spanish and Mixtec-speaking residents and businesses in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Promotores Network.
In the coming months, 3C-REN will submit new programs for approval by the CPUC, and we will continue to focus on equity in our work. We are proposing programs for small businesses, public agencies, and small agricultural operations, all of which are currently underserved by energy-efficiency programs.
Our intent isn’t to pat ourselves on the back—rather, we mean to hold ourselves accountable, share what we’re working on, and demonstrate how we’re striving to do more. It’s not always easy, but we are committed to instilling equity into all 3C-REN practices and programs.
*The CPUC defines “hard-to-reach” as those who face barriers to program participation like language, income level or business size.
The Switch is On!
3C-REN has partnered with the Building Decarbonization Coalition for “The Switch is On,” a statewide electrification campaign. The shift away from gas and towards electricity is a major evolution of the energy system! Working with The Switch is On, 3C-REN can make sure that the tri-county region is prepared to take advantage of the many opportunities that electrification will bring.
At SwitchisOn.org, residents can speak one-on-one with home electrification advisors; find local vetted contractors, incentives and rebates; and locate additional home electrification resources. The Switch is On helps residents access rebates to offset the cost of all-electric replacements. These rebates can be layered with 3C-REN incentives to further reduce costs of making the switch.
The Switch is On also supports local contractors, in alignment with 3C-REN’s Building Performance Training and Energy Code Connect programs. These programs train building professionals to implement electrification projects, so we can meet growing demand.
To learn more, here’s 3C-REN’s Marisa Hanson-Lopez talking about the campaign on KCLU.
2021 in Review
In 2021, 3C-REN established itself as the go-to resource for the Central Coast’s building and design professionals, increasing the number of trainings by over 150% from 2020.
Attendance at our events also increased and almost doubled from the year before! 3C-REN held a total of 82 events in 2021, partnering with over 25 organizations and engaging over 1,500 attendees. The Energy Code Connect program offered 28 total events dedicated to making permitting and plan checks easier on applicants and public sector staff with sessions on HERS verification, CF-1R compliance, ADU’s, and domestic hot water. We helped certify 17 people become Certified Energy Analysts through the California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC).
In addition, 3C-REN’s Building Performance Training program held 54 total events on leading building industry trends such as fuel switching/electrification, HVAC and water heating technology, green real estate, and automation and controls for cannabis cultivation. 3C-REN certified 23 professionals as Passive House Design Consultants.
Thank you to all who participated in 3C-REN events last year! We hope you’ll join us in 2022. See our updated Calendar of Events and Trainings.
3C-REN offers ICC CEUs and AIA LUs for many of our educational events.