California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC)
For the New Solar Homes Partnership
The California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC) is a tool designed to calculate project-specific utility allowances for low income housing projects. As a result of recommendations from the New Solar Homes Partnership's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, California Energy Commission staff working through its contractor, KEMA, began development of the CUAC in 2007.
In July 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final regulations for changes to utility allowances for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects. In California the state LIHTC agency is the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC). In these regulations the IRS established the authority for the CTCAC to authorize the use of an energy consumption software model to determine project specific utility allowances. The approved energy consumption software model can be used by qualified professionals approved by the CTCAC to calculate project specific utility allowances.
Throughout 2008, KEMA continued to improve the CUAC, and completed a final version designed for public use in October 2008. On November 5, 2008, the Energy Commission approved the California Utility Allowance Calculator and authorized Commission staff to work with CTCAC to facilitate adoption of the CUAC and rules for its use by CTACAC.
On January 25, 2009, the CTCAC approved the CUAC as the energy consumption model software for California for the 2009 tax credit funding cycle. The CUAC can be use by qualified professionals approved by the CTCAC to calculate project-specific utility allowances.
Disclaimer: The CUAC is intended for affordable housing new construction and possibly substantial rehabilitation projects that include energy efficiency improvements beyond those required by the 2005 California Building Energy Efficiency Standards and/or onsite solar electric (photovoltaic, PV) generation. The CUAC is not appropriate for use with existing projects built to older energy efficiency Standards or to projects that do not include energy efficiency or PV upgrades. The Energy Commission is interested in working with State and local housing authorities and funding agencies with regulatory authority over affordable housing projects regarding the potential use of the CUAC for determining project specific utility allowances for projects that include energy efficiency or PV upgrades, which are under the jurisdiction of those agencies, including rules adopted by those agencies to assure that the CUAC is used by qualified professionals.
CUAC Users Guide Publication #CEC-300-2010-002-REV 2
(PDF file, 21 pages, 341 kb)
The current version of the CUAC User Guide in Acrobat PDF format. Please download and review this file and review the installation instructions before downloading the CUAC program. Posted: December 22, 2010.
California Utility Allowance Calculator (ZIP file, 2.3 MB)Downloading Instructions: Create a folder in your C drive and name it "CUAC." Right-click the link above to download the CUAC.zip file into the "CUAC" folder you've just created on your C drive. Unzip the files from the CUAC zip file.
Last Updated: September 14, 2016
The current version of the CUAC requires a Windows-based PC and Microsoft® Access®. A Macintosh-based version is not expected to be created.
Weighted Average Workbook (Excel file, 396 kb):
Proper use of the CUAC requires that weighted average utility consumption be calculated for each unit size. This Microsoft® Excel® template is designed to help facilitate the calculation of those weighted averages.
Data Collection Spreadsheet (Excel file, 25 kb)
Energy analyst data collection spreadsheet example provided by the Benningfield Group. Proper use of the CUAC requires energy analysts to collect substantial data regarding affordable housing projects. This Excel template is provided as an example tool designed to facilitate the collection of that data.
CUAC Training, Events & Presentations
August 3 and 4, 2011 - California Utility Allowance Calculator User Training Workshops.
August 3 in Los Angeles,
August 4 in Sacramento and via WebEx.
Presentation on CUAC by Adrian Ownby, Calif. Energy Commission, at the Housing California 2011 Annual Conference, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, Calif., April 27, 2011.
Presentation on CUAC by Adrian Ownby, Calif. Energy Commission, at the Housing California 2010 Annual Conference, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, Calif., April 27, 2010.
November 16, 2009 - "Recommended CUAC Submission Guidelines" Presentation at the CCAH Fall Conference by Adrian Ownby, California Energy Commission, High Performance Buildings and Standards Development Office. (PDF file 9 pages, 268 kb)
June 6, 2009, "CUAC" - Presentation at the Green Affordable Housing Coalition, Oakland, Calif., on the CUAC by Adrian Ownby, California Energy Commission, High Performance Buildings and Standards Development Office, Efficiency and Renewable Energy Division. (PDF file 22 pages, 333 kb)
May 27, 2009, Class Held by CalHERS.org on CUAC - Presentation "Affordable Housing 101 for HERS Raters using the CUAC" by Adrian Ownby, California Energy Commission, High Performance Buildings and Standards Development Office, Efficiency and Renewable Energy Division. (PDF file 55 pages, 340 kb)
March 10, 2009 - California Utility Allowance Calculator Training Session.WebEx Recording of Workshop (Streaming audio and video)
Held in Sacramento at the office of the Secretary of State
Presentation at the Certified Energy Plans Examiner Training in Los Angeles and Sacramento, March 5 and March 10, 2009. (PDF File, 24 pages, 336 KB) This presentation is primarily focused on training potential users of the CUAC.
Presentation at the CTCAC Regulatory Hearings in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Oakland, January 2009. (PDF file, 1.9 MB)
This presentation includes a basic outline of the CUAC background and its use.
Presentation at the California Council for Affordable Housing Fall Conference, November 18, 2008. (PDF file, 328 kb)
This presentation contains several examples of the potential financial impact to an affordable housing project from using the CUAC.
For more information or questions regarding the CUAC, please contact: