What Happens in California … Never Stays in California

August 11th, 2011 | Category: Industry News

Things are happening in California and window film companies should be taking notice. Just as Florida has become the benchmark state for hurricane codes and protection, California sets the standard for energy legislation.

The state has been active in working to combat global warming. In 2008, California officially enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) which says that “global warming poses a serious threat to the environment of California and creates a comprehensive multi-year program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.”

More recently, legislation has been enacted to help already-constructed buildings achieve energy-efficiency. The legislation has several steps, some of which are complete (for new construction), others which are now in final development and some which have just begun and will take place over the next year or so. 

“Governor Brown signed in to legislation a law called AD 759 and that legislation is mandated to focus on achieving energy legislation in existing buildings,” says Doug Huntley, laboratory manager at 3M.

The hope is that retrofitting will be included in the steps so that window film can be used as a product to make California buildings more energy-efficient. However, this won’t affect just California in the long run.

 “The window film industry isn’t going to just focus on doing something in California,” says Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA. “This state may serve as a role model for our efforts in other states to follow. It’s a great benchmark. What you do here can be taken to other states. California has all of the issues that any state would have. If we can work with them and come up with a solution then that solution should be applicable almost anywhere.”

California continues to be a leader in energy-efficiency standards because of the great strides the state has made to become “greener.”

“California has been seen as a leader in setting energy-efficiency standards. It’s a large state so it’s a large user of electricity. Their price is the ninth highest in the nation,” says Smith. “They import more electricity than any other state, yet they are very cost efficient. Out of 50 states plus Washington, D.C., they are ranked 48 in terms of lowest cost per capita for electricity.”

As California moves forward with AD 759 the window film industry should pay close attention to what new standard the state sets this time.

“We would like to work with the key governing bodies to encourage improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings,” says Huntley. “We believe it is most effective to do so not by just looking at the absolute energy efficient target, but focusing on the delta improvement from how they perform today versus how much better we can get them to perform. Instead of saying everything must hit this absolute value, it’s much more cost effective, practical and is going to have a bigger impact if we say that we are going to take a lower performing building and improve it by 10 percent, 20 percent or even 30 percent. Therefore that is something that can be cost effective and would be implemented and would obviously have benefits for the window film industry.”

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