A bill that would grant the California Energy Commission the ability to enforce California’s energy efficiency building standards passed through the Assembly on Friday and is now headed to the Senate for a vote.

Authored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, AB 834 would allow the state to enforce energy efficiency standards for new construction related to lighting, insulation, windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

“Energy efficiency is the top priority in our policies to achieve energy savings for a reason — it’s the cheapest way to have a better energy policy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Williams said on the Assembly floor Friday. “Our standards are recognized as the leader across the nation, however, the effectiveness of these standards is dependent on compliance.”

Reports show that unlicensed contractors who are making heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements undermine energy efficiency efforts. There is no way to determine whether these contractors are following state law. This practice also undercuts the contractors who play by the rules and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

AB 834 is needed to ensure that consumers who purchase services for home improvement are protected, businesses that provide energy efficiency services are operating on a level playing field, and energy savings are real.

“California must continue to stand at the forefront of energy efficiency and green-building standards,” Williams said. “My bill helps protect consumers and businesses while moving our environmental goals forward.”

— Josh Molina is a communications specialist for Assemblyman Das Williams.