California Energy Commission goals may inform product development

One year ago, California Governor Jerry Brown signed sweeping legislation requiring that all the state’s energy come from clean power sources by 2045. The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 also requires the state to meet 50 percent of its energy needs with clean power by 2025 and 60 percent by 2030. As California’s primary energy policy and planning agency, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is driving energy efficiency and innovation, cleaner transportation, renewable energy growth, responsible energy infrastructure and emergency responses to the loss of energy supply due to natural disasters or other emergencies.

The CEC’s 2019 Strategic Plan includes “adopting progressive building and appliance energy efficiency standards … for zero net energy building and highly efficient appliances” as one of its eight goals. In the years to come, California is likely to set the pace for changing energy efficiency requirements for commercial appliances.

According to David Zabrowski, CFSP, Vice President, Frontier Energy Food Service Technology Center, the biggest challenge the commercial foodservice equipment industry faces with escalating energy-efficient appliance regulations is their lack of involvement in helping to inform these standards. “Regulation isn’t a bad thing, but regulation without industry involvement is,” David said.

“I’ve been to numerous hearings around lighting standards, and the room is full of lighting manufacturers providing feedback,” David said. “The same is usually not true for the foodservice equipment industry. It’s vitally important that manufacturers, who are the category subject-matter experts, be present to voice their opinions and share their experiences.

“For example, the CEC has been clear that electrification is the primary way California will meet its clean energy goals, but electricity costs five times as much per unit of energy as natural gas in the state,” David added. “Manufacturers need to help CEC understand that this decision hurts everyone from restaurant operators who purchase equipment to California diners who must absorb these increased costs.”

NAFEM will continue to monitor CEC’s activities.