Savings By Design

Savings by Design Program Helps to Create Both Energy-Efficient and Beautiful Buildings

Shouldn’t buildings and energy efficiency always go hand in hand? We think so. Two local projects are proof that they do go together quite beautifully. The American Institute of Architects San Diego (AIA) recently recognized those projects for achieving the highest standards of energy efficiency and exceptional design.

In a longstanding partnership with AIA, SDG&E guides architects from the design and construction phases to meet the highest energy performance levels possible. Both projects participated in SDG&E’s Savings By Design (SDB) program, which provides participants with financial incentives for meeting specific standards.

The SBD Program is aimed at exceeding California’s energy code: Title 24, Building Energy Efficient Standards. These standards are in place to reduce energy consumption in newly constructed nonresidential buildings. A building must perform at least 10 percent better than the Title 24 Standards to qualify for the SBD incentives. Think of it as going the extra green mile.

Check out these 2019 AIA Energy Efficiency & Integration Award winners:

The North County Coastal Wellness Center: A White Roof Equals More Green

Completed in May of 2019, the North County Coastal Wellness Center offers behavioral health treatment and recovery services and resources for active military and veterans. It is based in Oceanside and powered by a 307kW rooftop solar system.

When the project team consulted with SDG&E’s SBD team on ways to maximize energy efficiency to exceed Title 24 Standards, the attention turned to the roof. Black or gray roof surfaces contribute to more energy use and hotter building temperatures.

Our team recommended using a white cool roof instead. White roofing is ideal because the solar reflective coating reflects up to 90 percent of sunlight, reducing the need for air conditioning.

The roof, combined with other design aspects, earned the County of San Diego, the owner of the building, an incentive of $64,000 and helps the region’s ongoing efforts to curb climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of buildings.  

The Borrego Springs Library & Sheriff Station: Achieving Savings Through Smart Lighting

The smallest change can make a significant impact when it comes to increasing building efficiency. The Borrego Springs Library & Sheriff Station, which was completed in January 2019, is a prime example. Our Savings By Design team assessed the gaps in their building efficiency design and found an opportunity with the track lighting in the reading room.

Higher wattage bulbs heat spaces and can result in a higher energy bill, so SDG&E recommended using a current limiter. The limiter prevents anyone from using high wattage bulbs on the track lighting. In combination with using LED bulbs, this small change contributed to an approximately 80 percent reduction in lighting wattage usage. Adding this measure, combined with other efficiency building features, resulted in an incentive of almost $31,000 for the County of San Diego and exceeded Title 24 Standard by 32 percent.

More Information

When you’re planning a new build commercial project, it pays to get an early start on energy efficiency.

For more information on the Savings By Design program, contact our team at (858)650-4148 to see how to enhance your project’s whole building energy performance potential. You can also visit our website at