Building intervention points represent key points in the lifespan of a building where there is potential to align and integrate building energy upgrades with existing capital improvement and major renovation cycles.
By integrating efforts to impact energy use, GHG emissions, equity, and resilience at these key intervention points, the cost, disruption, and other burdens incurred by building owners and users can be significantly reduced while critical performance improvements are achieved.
Establishing policies at these points is a key strategy for accelerating building energy upgrades, both in frequency and impact. Selecting the most appropriate intervention points will depend on the physical, economic, and cultural characteristics of each jurisdiction’s local building sector. Policymakers should employ a combination of quantitative analysis and qualitative assessment with community stakeholders to determine the greatest opportunities to positively impact climate, equity and resilience goals in the building stock.
Building intervention points occur throughout the lifecycle of a building, including during:
- Major renovations
- Building systems, materials and equipment replacements
- Capital improvement cycles
- Zoning or use changes
- Life-safety and resiliency upgrades (e.g. seismic, flooding, fire prevention, power disruption)
Leveraging Intervention Points
Planning & Policy Intervention Points
Policymakers can gain planning efficiencies by leveraging and integrating climate goals into other city initiatives. Citywide planning efforts around land use and community development should acknowledge the multiple benefits that energy efficiency, clean heat, and carbon free renewable energy can provide to communities, and identify ways to incorporate appropriate energy standards into policy and zoning to maximize these benefits. Policymakers can also leverage natural points of intervention within utilities that arise during planning and franchise renewals in order to prioritize efficiency, clean heat, and renewable energy expectations in their conversations with utilities.
Examples of planning & policy intervention points include:
- Community-based planning and visioning
- Regional growth and transit planning
- Building resilience and post-disaster reconstruction planning
- Utility capacity planning, grid expansion, or franchise renewal
- Development-specific agreements on public benefits packages to mitigate impacts
Policy & Programmatic Levers
Cities have the authority to levy requirements to support climate goals through ordinances, regulations, zoning, and incentive programs. They are also able to share data and educational resources aimed at encouraging program participation, and can offer financial assistance for residents and businesses through revolving funds, tax abatements, deductions, and credits. These and other policy and programmatic levers can be deployed at key building intervention points.Partnerships can be established across city departments, utilities, and third parties to offer alternative financing for upgrades including on-bill repayment and broker shared carbon free renewable energy investments such as power purchase agreements and community solar. Through these actions, and by providing greater choice and information, cities can play a key role as catalysts for change in their markets.
Primary examples of policy and programmatic levers include:
- Community choice aggregation for renewable energy
- Educational resources or outreach campaigns
- Workforce development assistance
- Financial assistance
- Information access programs
- Direct investment (in municipal facilities or as a public benefit investor or developer)