One of the most important features of a development project is the focus on completing milestones at a specific and convenient point in time. By defining a succession of tasks attached to those milestones, we increase our capacity to deliver. But what if we are not able to do this? How can we make sure that any risk that affects that timely order is minimized or entirely avoided?
This is the fifth installment of our blog series on how to avoid and mitigate risks in development projects in California through energy planning. Here we focus on how to comply with California energy Code without affecting your development schedule and timeline.
Follow the shortcuts to read the whole series.
- How Energy Planning Impacts the Cost and Value of a Development Project
- 4 Critical Phases for a Successful Development Project in California
- The 3 Top Energy Compliance Risks in Commercial Development across California
- 5 Energy Compliance Mistakes that Will Kill the Bottom Line of a Development Project
- How to Be Energy Compliant Without Impacting Your Development Timeline
- Commercial Development in California: Mitigating Energy Compliance Risks
California is a really unique state in many ways, and energy efficiency is one of them. In fact, the California Energy Code (referred to as Title 24) has been in place for almost 40 years, and periodical reviews make it not only more stringent but more complex.
Thus, the best way to be a successful developer is by integrating energy efficiency and planning into each project, independently of the type, market segment or technological challenges involved. We can call this a positive approach to policy, because what comes as a mandate and actually looks restrictive, can be the pivoting point from where you work.
The key here is to develop an energy compliance strategy from the start. This means understanding the energy regulatory scope for your project type, and considering energy planning as a part of each phase of the development process; that is: a) architectural design phase; b) budget preparation; c) proforma assumptions and costs; and d) construction phase. Let’s develop each one.
- Architectural design phase. This is the moment to think about your vision for that particular project. What do you expect? Is it just building and selling, or you plan to operate the building as well? Is it part of a city urban renewal program? These and many other questions need to be answered way before the first line is drawn, so allow energy efficiency to flow into the architectural vision and design.
- Budget preparation. A budget is the numerical counterpart to the vision and concept defined in the previous paragraph. It means that if you integrate energy efficiency and compliance as part of the project, then all materials, equipment, and systems installation should reflect on your numbers. A good advice with respect to California Energy Code Title 24 is to perform energy modeling, which means running several approaches and solutions to establish the most efficient one in terms of energy usage and cost.
- Proforma assumptions and costs. You are seeking financing, and those looking at your numbers ought to understand that your proposal is healthy in terms of expenditures, but also in regard to return. So, what model are you using to forecast revenues? Will buyers or renters be in favor of your project’s energy measures? Is that particular market segment favorable to energy efficiency? Securing financing is crucial, and in California, this depends a lot on your energy assumptions and costs.
- Construction phase. First point here is not to over-expend. Period. But this depends heavily on planning, including energy planning. Of course, if during construction a certain technology on which you depend disappears from the market or becomes too expensive, you will go overboard. But access to previously expensive technology is becoming easier each year, and globalization allows you to get to them anywhere in the world.