ABAG-administered program wins top award for energy savings

By Mark Prado
Cinnabar Commons in San Jose
Cinnabar Commons in San Jose participated in the energy savings program.

An energy savings program administered by ABAG has won a prestigious national award for its work.

The BayREN Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program – known as BAMBE – focuses on energy efficiency retrofits and offers no-cost consulting and cash rebates for multifamily properties with five or more attached dwelling units. Alameda County's StopWaste leads the program.

It has been named by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy as an exemplary program. The award recognized effectiveness and innovation and is given only once every five years. This the first time BAMBE has been recognized. ACEEE is a nonprofit research group based in Washington D.C.

BAMBE’s work saves the equivalent of the amount of carbon dioxide it takes to charge 198 million cell phones annually, or the amount of  greenhouse gas emissions produced to power 3.8 million cars each year.

The BAMBE program serves the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and supports efficiency improvements designed to save 15 percent or more of a building’s energy and water usage. It provides a $750 per unit rebate to help pay for the upgrades.

Natural gas and electricity, heating, cooling, domestic hot-water equipment, lighting fixtures and appliances are among the areas where energy savings can be found.

The BAMBE program’s no-cost consulting includes onsite energy audits, scope development, project cash-flow analysis, procurement and construction oversight, post-construction verification and referrals to incentive and financing programs.

Since 2013, the program has helped upgrade over 31,000 units at 458 properties, providing over $22.5 million in rebates and technical assistance to over 80,000 units across the Bay Area.

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