The Devil is in the details; this is true for just about everything in life, but is especially costly to a development project. More often than not, a sound development project’s undoing comes from little oversights. In the case of an energy plan, it’s unrealistically linking the projected energy systems to the schedule and economic model.
This is a highly possible situation in California if a thorough energy plan has not been conceived from the pre-design stage. State energy regulations can be complex, and stumbling over regulatory hurdles are costly. So how can we prevent this from happening?
This is the second post of our blog series dedicated to energy planning in California. If you’re just joining us now, you may find the rest of the series of use as well.
Follow the shortcuts:
Best practices to a realistic budget
A budget is an essential aspect to project optimization. If the budget is not realistic, then that creates a variable in the economic model which could tank the ROI. Across the board – look for steady information both on hard and soft costs; understand the timeframe needed for city, state and federal approvals, as well as the information you need to include when applying for permits; and explore the different possibilities that materials and designs can provide. They all are fundamental to having a solid budget.
When it comes to energy codes, special attention must be paid to the following three points:
1. Identify the energy system’s budget risk factors: When you understand the risks, you can devise an optimal roadmap because you know exactly what to avoid. An exhaustive risk identification helps to design mitigation strategies, finds alternative paths, and establishes costs. Some of the risks include: not meeting inspections; choosing the wrong materials; not exploring different energy modeling options. All of these mean increased workload, and above all, a budget gone overboard.
2. Consider energy planning in your development’s economic model: From the moment you start pouring out information to produce a successful proforma, you need to combine materials, prices, technology and activities, all within the frame of the state energy code. So, consider the cost of sustainable materials, design, construction, inspections and approvals. If your project timeline includes management, replacements and substitutions are an input as well.
3. Talk with an energy planning and consulting team early in the development process: Your project needs a realistic budget and a strong timeline, and the key point here is to bring onboard the best talent in the field. That means including an energy consultant within your design team. They have a deep knowledge about budgeting, regulations, and energy systems that will increase your ROI and save you money in the lifetime of a product.
Energy planning is about sustainability, optimizing energy usage, minimizing waste, and using the best materials for the environment. But it also involves understanding the intricacies of energy codes at all levels, and actually being able to make the most efficient budget proposal.