The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public-interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Traditionally, this was a high-growth region where energy efficiency efforts were lagging compared to some other regions, emphasis was placed on energy production, energy costs were relatively low but rising, and air pollution was a growing concern. Due in large part to the efforts of SWEEP, the region has made great strides in advancing energy efficiency over the past 17 years.
SWEEP focused initially on utility energy efficiency policy and programs. Programs on buildings, industries, and transportation efficiency were subsequently added. In 2010, SWEEP initiated a new program to provide assistance to states, counties, and cities. SWEEP collaborates with utilities, state and local governments, environmental groups, national laboratories, businesses, and other energy experts.
SWEEP was founded in 2001 by Howard Geller, who previously served as the Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington, DC. Funding for SWEEP is provided primarily by charitable foundations, the U.S. Department of Energy, and business allies.
A DECADE OF STRONG ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Updated July 2017
- As a result of SWEEP’s efforts, Colorado recently adopted nine laws to promote purchase of electric vehicles and to enable cities and counties to invest gas tax revenues in public transit and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure.
- Due in large part to SWEEP’s advocacy efforts, funding for electric utility energy efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) programs in the region increased from about $21 million in 2001 to about $390 million in 2016.
- The annual energy savings from electric utility DSM programs in the region increased from 625 GWh per year in 2006 to nearly 2,400 GWh per year in 2016. SWEEP has helped utilities expand the scope and increase the impact of their efficiency programs.
- Households and businesses in the region are expected save over $7 billion as a result of utility energy efficiency programs implemented in the region over the past decade. Much of this savings would not be realized without SWEEP’s efforts.
- Southwestern utilities and states are implementing a number of innovative energy efficiency programs proposed by SWEEP including programs to support multifamily housing retrofits, LED lighting, wifi-enabled smart thermostats, upstream incentives, behavior change, direct installation of low-cost efficiency measures and Strategic Energy Management.
- The region has avoided the need for eight large baseload power plants as a result of utility energy efficiency programs implemented over the past decade. Thus SWEEP’s efforts are yielding substantial pollutant emissions reductions and water savings, in addition to the economic benefits.
- States in the region enacted dozens of laws to advance more efficient energy use that SWEEP proposed or influenced. These laws enacted or led to the scale-up of utility efficiency programs, strengthened building energy codes, minimum energy efficiency standards on light bulbs and other products, tax incentives for highly efficient new buildings or electric vehicles, energy savings goals for public buildings, new energy efficiency financing mechanisms, and more.
- Arizona adopted some of the strongest energy efficiency requirements for investor-owned electric utilities in the nation, requiring electricity savings of 20% by 2020. SWEEP actively supported and this policy and helped prevent it from being weakened.
- The state of Utah and many larger municipalities in Arizona, Nevada and Colorado adopted either the 2012 or 2015 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). SWEEP played a key role in educating policy makers about the benefits of adopting state-of-the-art building Vs.energy codes.
- As a result of SWEEP’s efforts, Colorado recently adopted nine laws to promote purchase of electric vehicles and to enable cities and counties to invest a portion of their gasoline tax revenue in mass transit systems and non-motorized transport. Utah also adopted five laws to promote the purchase of EVs.