The California Energy Commission approved an amendment allowing FPL Energy to raise emission limits for the Blythe power plant during start-ups and shutdowns at its March 30 meeting. Carbon monoxide emission limits for Blythe, located in Riverside County, were increased from 403 pounds to 3,600 pounds per event. Last month, the commission allowed Calpine to boost certain emission limits for the Metcalf power plant in San Jose, which is expected to come on line by July (<i>Circuit<\/i>, March 18, 2005). As with Metcalf, the commission pegged the reason for the change in air-quality conditions on emission underestimates by turbine manufacturers. Although it raised allowable start-up and shutdown emission levels, the CEC reduced hourly CO emission limits during normal operations by more than half, from 35.2 pounds per hour to 17.5 pounds per hour. The amendment for Blythe sets a single set of limits for start-ups, whether they are hot, warm, or cold. Hot and warm start-ups are much less polluting than cold, according to the commission. The decision this week allows 16 cold start-ups annually, which is a much larger number than the commission expects will be needed. In other actions, two contracts totaling more than $5 million to demonstrate the Zero-Energy New Home Program?s efficiency got the nod. PowerLight was awarded $2.7 million, while Architectural Energy Corp. (AEC) was granted $2.9 million. Southern California Edison will partner with AEC, conducting an analysis of the benefits of boosting marketing incentives. The commission program develops energy-efficient home designs and couples them with on-site PV systems, aiming to slash homeowners? bills. AEC will conduct demos in 75 single-family homes, while PowerLight will develop a single-family project and an 80-unit multifamily project. residences will be evaluated through scrutiny of electric and gas bills as well as performance of PV components. In view of the state?s appetite for solar development, ?these projects will provide valuable input,? said commissioner John Geesman. Also at the meeting, compliance manuals for both residential and nonresidential building energy-efficiency standards were approved. The regulations, set to take effect in October, include parameters for roofing, lighting, flooring, and appliances. These efforts are in line with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?s ?green buildings? executive order. The directive from last December requires that existing government and private commercial buildings reduce electricity use by 10 percent per square foot by 2010 and 20 percent per square foot by 2015.