In the past, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) have partnered with utility providers to create financial incentives for new developments to reach beyond standard sustainable code measures. Now, LADWP is launching their own sustainability incentive program: Zero By Design.

The Zero By Design program is part of the City of L.A.’s “Green New Deal 2019 Sustainable City pLAn”, an initiative to ensure all new buildings in the city produce zero carbon by 2030, and that 100% of all existing buildings be net zero carbon by 2050. One of the more progressive environmental impact plans in the State of California, LADWP has created the Zero By Design program to incentivize commercial and multifamily developers in the area to take the extra step towards a more sustainable future. The program’s primary intent is to exceed Title 24 for commercial and high-rise residential buildings in one of two ways: the express path, and the whole building performance path.

The express path allows developers to apply for rebate incentives based on a number of available types of mechanical equipment not normally required per Title 24, primarily chillers. These chosen devices allow the applicant to recoup their initial costs by delivering the invoices for the equipment to LADWP and receiving financial rebates as a result.

The whole building performance path calls for an energy model which demonstrates an improvement of at least 10% over Title 24 2019 Energy Code minimums. By reaching this threshold, owners will not only see a direct ROI on their buildings, but they may be eligible to receive financial incentives as well from LADWP. Both the express and whole building performance paths can produce up to $50,000 per project in direct financial rebates!

Similar to other sustainability incentive programs, the application utilizes several forms and a workbook to be completed by the applicant (or the energy modeler if choosing the whole building performance path). Once all the appropriate information is compiled based on your intended path, there are three stages to complete: the application, the installation report, and the post-construction verification. These three stages allow LADWP to ensure all steps are being taken to verify that a quality product is purchased, installed, and programmed correctly in order to identify any problem areas before they occur. Once every milestone is met, the recipient will know their exact incentive amount to be received and the procedure will be complete.

For projects pursuing the whole building performance path, LADWP stresses the importance of creating an energy model that accounts for all possible factors to not only boost potential savings, but to ensure the application is not rejected due to incomplete or incorrect data. VCA Green possesses a team of highly experienced Certified Energy Analysts (CEA) who are well-equipped with the knowledge and tools to create the most efficient energy models possible while consulting on other Title 24 measures and assisting with the application process simultaneously.

More information about LADWP Zero By Design can be found at the link below, including program language, applicable devices for the express path, application forms, and more. For information regarding VCA’s services to assist with your application, contact Moe Fakih below.

Contributing Writer: Burke Boydell, CEA

Moe Fakih, Principal

VCA Green
714-363-4700 x501

LADWP Zero By Design information:;jsessionid=K71ygcJJJQWwnkG1lyTnQTW42FpnYBJHV32cz4DDt0D2wncXhG9h!645681360?_adf.ctrl-state=oud8x7d6u_4&nodeid=RebatesAndPrograms&_afrLoop=322527225659098&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrWindowId=null