California Builders Increase Construction of Energy-Efficient New Homes by 1,200 Percent

February 23, 2004

February 23, 2004

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 23, 2004 – At the upcoming national ENERGY STAR® awards ceremony the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce California builders completed 19,000 new homes last year that met the rigorous ENERGY STAR® energy-efficiency guidelines – a 1,200 percent increase compared to the 1,500 units built in 2001. 

At the March 2 ceremony in Washington, D.C., the EPA will attribute California’s emergence as a national leader in energy-efficient new home construction to a unique, joint utility campaign called the “California ENERGY STAR® New Homes” program first offered in 2002. 

The program, run by San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Co., Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and Southern California Edison, provides builders with information on the benefits of energy-efficient homes plus financial incentives for offering customers ENERGY STAR® homes.  Approximately $11.5 million in such incentives were provided in 2003 alone to help offset the added construction costs of energy-efficient building practices.

Because California has some of the most rigorous energy efficiency requirements in the nation, homes that earn ENERGY STAR® certification are 35 to 45 percent more energy-efficient than the National Model Energy Code, instead of the 30 percent criteria required in other states.  Nevertheless, a record 32,000 new homes conforming to ENERGY STAR® guidelines were permitted in the state last year because of the utility campaign.

"The statewide effort by California’s investor-owned utilities exemplifies the best in national, regional and local teamwork bringing the money saving and environmental benefits of ENERGY STAR® technologies to thousands of families," said Kathleen Hogan, director of EPA's Climate Protection Partnerships Division. "California is fortunate to have this strong coalition of utilities delivering ENERGY STAR® information and resources to consumers.”

When completed, the electricity savings of California’s 2003 ENERGY STAR® homes will equal approximately 1,100 megawatt-hours – the output of one large power plant.  The heat savings from the utilities’ 2003 ENERGY STAR® natural-gas programs will be an estimated 1.2 million therms per year or the equivalent of the amount of energy needed to heat 2,300 single-family homes for an entire year.

“We salute Southern California builders who responded to our encouragement to design and build homes for our customers that use the latest energy-efficient practices,” said Lynda Ziegler, SCE’s director of customer programs and services.  “And we thank the EPA and DOE for their recognition of our efforts and those of our sister utilities.”

About California’s Investor-Owned Utilities
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Co., and Southern California Edison have a 28-year history of effectively marketing energy-efficiency and energy conservation programs.  For years, these utilities have managed highly successful rebate programs supporting the use of ENERGY STAR® products for the home.

About ENERGY STAR®
ENERGY STAR® was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency.  Today, with assistance from the Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR® program offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations.  More than 7,000 organizations have become ENERGY STAR® partners and are committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.  For more information about ENERGY STAR®, visit
www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 888-782-7937.

# # #

An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 12 million via 4.5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.