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Savings by Design Offers Significant Incentives to Property Owners and Design Teams

Written by: Johnathon Fata

In the state of California, electric and gas utilities offer a wide variety of incentive programs aimed at increasing the adoption of energy efficiency technologies throughout the state. While the majority of these programs are utility-specific, The Savings By Design (SBD) Program is a statewide program administered by all four California IOUs (SCG, PG&E, SCE and SDG&E) as well as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

The SBD Program, focused on driving energy efficiency in new construction and major renovation projects, offers significant incentives and design assistance to owners and design teams for projects that achieve significant energy savings above Title 24 minimums. Commercial buildings are especially encouraged to go above and beyond by incorporating energy efficiency and reaching zero net energy status.

Two approaches are available for owners to participate in the SBD Program: the Whole Building Approach and the Systems Approach. The Whole Building Approach promotes the use of integrated design analysis for projects taking a whole building, holistic approach to energy efficiency; it is designed to maximize the interactive effects of building systems.

Whereas the Whole Building Approach looks at all the building systems together, the Systems Approach is designed to maximize the efficiency of single building systems. The Systems Approach is most appropriate for simpler projects, those whose systems are designed at different times and for projects where considerations for energy efficiency occurs late in the design phase.

For both approaches, design assistance is provided free of charge to the project owner and their design team. Design assistance includes recommendations for energy efficient equipment, consultation on enhanced design strategies, and the preparation of an owner’s report recommending design modifications and strategies for change. Financial incentives are available for up to $150,000 for owners and $50,000 for design teams.

Waypoint is proud to be the SBD commercial program Administrator for the Southern California Gas Company and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, providing full program management as well as design assistance to SBD projects. For institutional projects, Okapi Architecture manages the SBD Program. Additionally, Waypoint works closely with Southern California Edison on their SBD Program. If you are interested in learning more about the SBD Program for your building’s new construction or major renovation, contact Johnathon Fata to start the conversation at


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