Seeking to Advance Smart, Sustainable Energy Use Through Collaboration
Article contributed by
RITA A. RENNER – Independent Consultant

A new, member-based organization emerging in California, the California Energy Alliance is focused on collaboration amongst a broad range of stakeholders, finds common ground to drive effective energy policy, and fosters synergy between groups who may not have previously seen an alignment.

CEA members come from a wide array of market sectors impacted by energy use in California. Member organizations include manufacturers, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, trade associations, contractors, builders and large end-users—just to name a few. CEA’s success is solidly based on the diversity of its membership. Founding co-chairs Doug Avery and John Martin bring a solid background of experience from both the utility and trade association perspectives.

The Alliance meets monthly to improve California’s energy future and the migration toward a Zero Net Energy horizon. CEA focuses on the promotion and realization of deep energy savings, sustainable energy generation, and integration. The Alliance actively participates in the development and implementation of pragmatic, environmentally and economically sound building energy standards and other initiatives.

During 2017, The Alliance established itself as a legal entity with a governing structure and pending 501(c)(3) status. In its initial policy work, the organization focused on the most immediately actionable areas of opportunity, specifically related to the Title 24-2019 code cycle. The membership identified opportunities to clarify and simplify energy savings options through lighting controls for lighting alterations, and took action to develop and submit a code change proposal to the California Energy Commission (CEC). As the proposal author, Cori Jackson noted, “Existing buildings represent a vast, untapped opportunity to achieve energy and carbon savings in California. Reducing the impact of lighting, which consumes between 20 and 30 percent of all commercial building energy use, is key to meeting California’s savings goals.” The CEC largely accepted CEA’s proposal in its Draft Express Terms, released on January 19, 2018. This action commences the formal rulemaking process for the 2019 updates to California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24; Standards; Energy Code).

CEA remains actively engaged in the 2019 code making process and is currently working on proposals for 2022.

In parallel with this initial work in the lighting area, CEA membership is also exploring opportunities to advance smart energy use through other aspects of the built environment. Some areas the organization is exploring with respect to the Title 24-2022 code cycle include demand response, performance-based metrics, conformance of building and energy codes, and clarification or simplification of code compliance processes.

What CEA members are saying
“Our organization is active with the CEA because it is an effective way to hear all the viewpoints and work together toward collaborative and sustainable outcomes,” notes Craig Ochoa, Lighting and Controls Manager, Morrow-Meadows Corporation, a full-service electrical engineering and contracting firm.
“The work CEA is doing aligns well with the objectives advanced by The Sierra Club California,” says Edward Moreno, Policy Advocate, Sierra Club California. “California can and should continue to be a leader in smart and sustainable energy policy development.

Lighting professionals interested in finding out more about California Energy Alliance can visit the website at

Rita A. Renner

About Rita A. Renner

Seasoned in cleantech and energy efficiency, Rita A. Renner ( has held senior marketing and outreach positions at industry leaders such as Echelon and Wattstopper. As an independent consultant, she has served clients in pre-IPO lighting controls companies, electrical/data construction and professional services firms, and power management solutions providers. She has conducted industry outreach activities, including collaborative programs with R&D organizations and educational programs with industry NGOs. She is a member of the State Bar of California (inactive), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), and holds a LEED Green Associate credential from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Share This