CalBEM’s purpose is to empower California’s building energy modeling (BEM) community to identify, explore, and prioritize the challenges they share, and then support solutions to those challenges to help to promote low-carbon buildings.

CalBEM convenes representative voices in the building energy modeling (BEM) field to identify and collaborate on BEM improvements related to building energy codes and building performance. Participants meet throughout the year via Working Groups and at an annual event. CalBEM is sponsored by Southern California Edison on behalf of California utilities.

Working Groups are organized around three core goals:

  1. Streamline & Simplify Processes: Provide a statewide framework that allows fewer energy models to be used for:
    • informing energy design decisions,
    • compliance with CA Energy Code and local Reach Codes, and
    • applying for public customer incentive programs and certifications.
  1. Educate Users: Support California’s long-term climate action goals by encouraging, training, and educating on the use of BEM tools.
  1. Improve Capabilities & Accuracy: Accelerate the introduction of new simulation capabilities into BEM tools while increasing simulation accuracy.

Read more about what these groups are up to these days.
Read CalBEM’s 2021 Mid Term Planning Process report, an exploration into the next 3-5 years of CalBEM.


The People

CalBEM is supported by the collective efforts of many individuals spread broadly across the building energy modeling discipline.

Point of Contact

  • Ryan McFadyen (Southern California Edison)
    ryan.mcfadyen@sce.com

Steering Committee Members

  • Nick Brown (CABEC)
  • Che Geiser (California Energy Commission)
  • Will Vicent (California Energy Commission)
  • Genesis Tang (California Public Utilities Commission)
  • Mike Wilson (IBPSA-USA)
  • Armen Saiyan (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power)
  • Babak Yazdanpanah (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power)
  • Jim Kemper (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power)
  • Jill Marver (Pacific Gas & Electric)
  • Kelly Cunningham (Pacific Gas & Electric)
  • Jeremy Reefe (San Diego Gas & Electric)
  • Dominique Michaud (San Diego Gas & Electric)
  • Kate Zeng (San Diego Gas & Electric)
  • Ryan McFadyen (Southern California Edison) / Charles Kim (Southern California Edison)
  • Randall Higa (Southern California Edison)
  • Carlo Gavina (Southern California Gas Company)

Planning Team (Coordination & Logistics)

  • Elise Wall (2050 Partners)
  • Alex Chase (2050 Partners)
  • Ted Pope (2050 Partners)
  • Neil Bulger (Red Car Analytics)

The Landscape

Multiple organizations (many of which are listed on the CalBEM Resource Hub) work on building energy modeling in ways that impact California. CalBEM should complement (rather than duplicate) the effort of similar organizations and support the work of regulatory groups such as the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission. The table below shows some organizations that work on BEM in California and the efforts they work on. The table reflects input from stakeholder interviews during the CalBEM 2021 MidTerm Planning Process. CalBEM’s leadership (e.g., Steering Committee, Planning Committee, Working Group Co-chairs) is designed with the goal to support these synergies. For example, Steering Committee members and Working Group leads are active with many of the organizations active in building energy modeling and can provide input links to the organizations below.

Table listing many BEM organizations active in California, differentiating the organizations by their Primary Functional Goals and Areas of work.

The following is a brief, non-exhaustive, summary of each organization with respect to BEM in California:

  • The California Energy Commission (CEC): drives work on Codes and Standards (development, compliance, enforcement, software) in California and is the authority for compliance-related software approvals, etc. for BEM in California.
  • The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC): confirms that ratepayer money is doing its job effectively; is working closely with the CEC.
  • Energy Code Ace: strives to give people knowledge and resources to do their job related to code compliance; splits work equally between performance and prescriptive code; is not involved with BEM for incentive programs.
  • California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC): advocates for the needs of energy consultants in California; educates energy consultants and other key stakeholders; spreads knowledge and helps with networking; offers accreditation for the Certified Energy Analyst certificate, and advocates for it to be included where it makes sense; is most involved in California but open to assisting in other states.
  • International Building Performance Simulation Association, USA regional affiliate (IBPSA-USA): advocates for the present and future interests of its members (currently majority BEM practitioners and software developers) on national and state levels; is most involved in California, with indirect involvement in other states; growing in education and information dissemination.
    • California Advocacy Committee: advocates for compliance to add value to the high-performance design process; organizes the voices of selected BEM practitioners in California to find consensus opinions; is looking to establish a communication channel with the CEC.
  • California Utilities: support funding for building codes advocacy (e.g., Title24stakeholders.com), compliance improvement (e.g., Energy Code Ace), CalBEM, and other research initiatives in the BEM space.
  • The US Department of Energy’s Building Technology Office (DOE BTO), BEM subprogram; has a national focus, conducting “work in three key areas to continually develop innovative, cost-effective, energy-saving solutions: research and development, market stimulation, and building codes and equipment standards.”[1] California is able to leverage resources developed or funded by the BTO, including but not limited to model code compliance policy language and educational resources like BEMcyclopedia.
  • US National Labs: coordinates together (PNNL, LBNL, NREL, ORNL, and ANL); are tied to DOE BTO for funding.
    • LBNL focuses on metrics, grid flexibility, and other areas.
    • NREL: maintains Energy Plus and Open Studio; thinks about grid flexibility and defining metrics.
    • PNNL: explores what codes could become and their cost-effectiveness; performs savings determinations for ASHRAE 90.1 (e.g., Standard 140) codes; researches ruleset implementations; contributes to software development (Energy Plus, etc.); evaluates impacts on the grid, building envelope performance, and other analyses for research purposes; contributes design assistance and audits for government buildings.
  • Private Software Companies are creating quality new BEM tools that advance the status-quo.

[1] “Key Activities in Energy Efficiency.” 2021, About the Building Technologies Offices, U.S. Department of Energy.