Which Segment of the Energy Industry Supports the Most Jobs in the Southwest? 

Hint: It’s Not Fossil Fuels Production
Posted by Howard Geller Wed, 07/19/2017 - 01:56 PM Categories: Buildings Industrial State & Local Government Transportation Utility Policy

Which segment of energy industry supports the most jobs in the energy-rich Southwest? Answer: It’s the energy efficiency industry, according to the 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). If public officials want to expand energy-related jobs, they should start by supporting energy efficiency initiatives including the federal energy efficiency programs funded by the DOE and EPA.


How to Improve I-25 Traffic Without Spending Big Bucks 

Use market forces to help highway travelers for the long-term
Posted by Mike Salisbury Fri, 07/14/2017 - 02:01 PM

Anyone who travels on highways in the Front Range knows that congestion is a major problem in the Denver metro area and, based on expected population growth over the next 30 years, it’s only going to get worse. What if there was a way to increase mobility on the existing road, and improve transit and other options, without needing more public funds? This sounds like magic, but it really just requires a smart approach to using market forces to optimize the use of our existing highway lanes. 


Southwest Has More “Zero Energy” Homes and Homebuilders Than Anywhere Else in the Country 

Reasons for Progress Could Serve as National Model
Posted by Nancy Kellogg Tue, 06/27/2017 - 02:44 PM Categories: Buildings State & Local Government Utility Policy

More than 60 percent of the most energy-efficient homes built today in the country have been constructed in the Southwest. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of the homebuilders who make these highly efficient houses also are based in this region. The reasons for this success could serve as a model for other parts of the nation seeking to improve the efficiency and quality of their new housing stock. SWEEP’s building team recently “crunched the numbers” from the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 updated list of homebuilders who construct houses according to the strictest energy efficiency criteria.


Industrial Contributions Towards U.S. Climate Goals 

Leading companies trim emissions
Posted by Neil Kolwey Wed, 06/14/2017 - 02:49 PM Categories: Industrial

In the wake of the president’s unfortunate and misguided decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has assembled an alliance of 12 states, over 150 cities and counties, and over 1,200 businesses and investors, with the goal of achieving the U.S. Paris goals despite the president’s withdrawal. Some experts estimate that this alliance could achieve as much as 60 to 70 percent of the U.S. Paris goal.

The industrial sector is very important in these efforts: industry accounts for 30 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. There are a growing number of large industrial and information technology (IT) companies with greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, energy efficiency, or renewable energy goals. Contrary to the president’s statements about the Paris accord, these companies recognize that achieving clean energy goals will not conflict with good business strategy, competitiveness, or profitability.


Time for states to step up on clean transportation 

States, cities can embrace EVs, add public transit
Posted by Will Toor Mon, 06/12/2017 - 01:23 PM Categories: State & Local Government Transportation Utility Policy

When President Donald Trump recently walked away from the Paris Climate Agreement, his decision spurred many states, cities and businesses nationwide to step up their own push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what the federal government does or doesn’t do. One key area for action is transforming America’s transportation systems.


Bipartisan Plan Could Solve Colorado’s Transportation Headaches 

Voters Will Have to Approve Proposal
Posted by Will Toor Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:58 AM

The proposal lawmakers introduced is a well-crafted compromise that deserves support from those who care about energy efficiency and emissions reductions. HB 1242 builds on years of work by local governments, environmental groups, and transit, walking and biking advocates to assure that any new state transportation funding makes a significant investment in multimodal transportation, not just highways. However, despite the support of House and Senate leadership, this bill still faces a battle to get through the legislature


With electric car tax credits, all of Colorado benefits from cleaner air 

But some state lawmakers want to cut useful program
Posted by Will Toor Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:30 AM Categories: State & Local Government Transportation



Colorado lawmakers are debating a proposal to eliminate tax credits that encourage consumers to buy cleaner, energy-efficient electric vehicles (EVs) and other alternative fuel vehicles. Opponents of the program – notably the Independence Institute and Americans for Prosperity – are feeding legislators incorrect information about how much most consumers can benefit from the program. Despite the opponents’ claims, EVs are not toys for the rich.


How Can the Southwest’s Communities Make Installing EV Charging Easier and Cheaper? 

Cities and Counties Adopt EV Ready Codes
Posted by Mike Salisbury Mon, 03/06/2017 - 12:55 PM Categories: State & Local Government Transportation

Communities that require builders to install EV charging capabilities in new apartments, single-family homes and commercial offices will make the transition away from gasoline-powered cars easier for their residents. Some local governments have figured out an answer to how to make the changes happen. Recently, the cities of Boulder and Aspen, Colorado, joined the City and County of DenverBoulder County and Salt Lake City in adopting an “EV Ready” building code.



State of Colorado is near the bottom in funding public transit 

Colorado invests one-twenthieth of national average
Posted by Will Toor Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:48 AM

The level of state support for public transit in Colorado is one of the lowest in the country. In Colorado's Statewide Transit Plan, CDOT used information from the National Transit Database to compare Colorado’s state funding for both capital and operating to the nation as a whole. For the nation as a whole, including states that do not provide any support for transit, states provide 26 percent of the operating costs for transit, and 12 percent of the capital costs.


Top 9 Reasons to Update to a Newer Energy Code 

Posted by Christine Brinker Fri, 01/20/2017 - 01:59 PM

With the newest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) on its way, we want to make sure all jurisdictions in the Southwest reap the benefits of the most recent energy codes and aren’t left in the dust with poorer-quality and leaky buildings built according to prior codes. We recommend moving to the 2015 IECC and improving efficiency beyond this baseline in the future.


Corporate Clean Energy Leadership 

Energy Efficiency Is a Solid Foundation for GHG Reductions by Large Companies
Posted by Neil Kolwey Fri, 01/20/2017 - 01:46 PM

Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies now have targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, buy renewable energy, and/or increase energy efficiency.  The companies want to be socially responsible and enhance their green business image, but pursuing clean energy goals also benefits their bottom lines, especially when their efforts emphasize energy efficiency. These enterprises will continue to play an important role in the next four years towards helping the U.S. achieve its Paris climate commitments, especially if there is little or no support for clean energy from the federal government.


Doubling Down on Energy Efficiency 

States, local governments must pick up the slack
Posted by Howard Geller Fri, 01/13/2017 - 02:04 PM Categories: Buildings Industrial State & Local Government Transportation Utility Policy

If the adage “personnel is policy” holds true, energy efficiency and clean energy will face a tough four years with respect to federal policy. With a pullback in federal leadership, states and local governments will be left to pick up the slack.


Blame inflation, not fuel efficiency, for potholes and rickety bridges 

Rising prices drain road funds 1,000 times more than electric cars
Posted by Mike Salisbury Fri, 01/13/2017 - 01:10 PM Categories: Transportation
As in many states across the country, in Colorado and Nevada the demand for funding to maintain and improve roadways outstrips revenue dedicated for this purpose. At a legislative hearing in December 2016, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said it needed $1 billion read more...

Energy Codes Count award recognizes results 

$1.2 Million Saved: Value of Energy-Efficient Buildings to 50,000-Person Town
Posted by Jim Meyers Tue, 12/20/2016 - 01:34 PM Categories: Buildings State & Local Government

What's the benefit to a local community of incorporating the newest energy efficiency measures into the building code? For one Colorado town, it’s already worth $1.2 million.  The lessons from Parker (located southeast of Denver) underscore how local leaders can help their residents, businesses, homebuilders and commercial real estate developers recognize that spending a little money upfront can lead to big savings in the long run. Can your town, city or county show similar, positive results? Read on.


Huge VW Settlement Can "Electrify" Transportation 

In the Southwest, potential $29 million for EV charging stations, $164 million for electric buses
Posted by Will Toor Fri, 10/14/2016 - 04:24 PM Categories: Transportation

When Volkswagen was caught systematically cheating on emissions tests, making their diesel vehicles look much cleaner than they actually are, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit for violations of the Clean Air Act. The company and the DOJ have reached a partial settlement, which is expected to be approved by a federal judge in October. The settlement includes approximately $10 billion in compensation to owners of noncompliant VWs, but also includes $4.7 billion that could help to accelerate the adoption of electric cars and buses.

We believe the two big opportunities that come from these substantial settlement dollars are building out the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the Southwest and replacing old diesel buses with zero emission buses powered by electricity.  


It's Time to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation 

Transportation Ranks 1st in Emissions that Cause Climate Change
Posted by Will Toor Wed, 09/14/2016 - 03:47 PM

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project recently provided comments to the Federal Highway Administration in support of establishing a "performance" measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.  It's timely because this year was the first that transportation overtook power plants as the largest source of GHG emissions in the United States—and because our commitment to the Paris climate accords will require a massive reduction of all GHG emissions, particularly those from transportation. Here's a look at the scenarios and comments from the Southwest.


Elevate Energy Efficiency on Oct. 5, 2016 

It's the first national Energy Efficiency Day: Get on board via social media.
Posted by Suzanne Pletcher Fri, 09/09/2016 - 04:25 PM Categories: Buildings Industrial State & Local Government Utility Policy

On October 5, 2016, a network of organizations and partners across the country will join together to promote the benefits of energy efficiency for the first-ever, nationwide Energy Efficiency Day. We are inviting you to participate. It's all happening this first year on social media, and we've made it easy for you to participate by providing a digital media toolkit.  The toolkit has logos, hashtags, pictures and messages—everything you need to boost the visibility and benefits of energy efficiency here in the Southwest and nationally using your own digital media platforms: your website, Facebook page, Twitter, newsletter,blog, etc. This blog will tell you how your organization can participate.  


Colorado Needs New Policies to Provide Funding for Bike, Bus, Rail and Ped Travel 

New Report Provides Rationale
Posted by Will Toor Wed, 08/17/2016 - 06:55 PM Categories: Transportation

A new report released by the CoPIRG Foundation and Southwest Energy Efficiency Project makes the case that transportation funding needs to be allocated to other modes of travel besides highways. This investment could come from reallocating a portion of existing federal, state and local transportation funding and as part of any new transportation funding plan.

It contends that Colorado would benefit from investing $1 billion per year in transit, biking, and pedestrian infrastructure and services in order to meet the demands and challenges of the state’s shifting demographics and growing population.  


Utility Energy Efficiency Programs in the Southwest 

Generating Enormous Benefits for Consumers and the Environment
Posted by Howard Geller Tue, 08/16/2016 - 07:03 PM Categories: Utility Policy

The major electric utilities in the Southwest greatly expanded their energy efficiency programs over the past eight years, programs that will result in their customers saving $5.5 billion net according to the utilities’ own data. These programs help households and businesses save energy through education, technical assistance and rebates, thereby increasing the adoption of energy-efficient lights, appliances, buildings, industrial processes, and the like.


Automated Energy Benchmarking: A New Solution for Businesses in Utah 

SLC and Partners Got National Recognition for the New Program
Posted by Kevin Emerson MSc, LEED GA Wed, 06/29/2016 - 12:42 PM Categories: Buildings State & Local Government

Salt Lake City, electric utility Rocky Mountain Power, Utah Clean Energy and several energy managers from commercial businesses in the city teamed up to develop a tool that could automate the tracking of energy use in the metro area's commercial buildings.  Over two years, the partners tackled each obstacle and introduced an automated data system that would track and compare energy use amongst similar buildings.  For their efforts, the city, utility and other partners were recognized by the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy in January of 2016 for being among a small handful of municipal-utility partners to create an automated program in the two-year project timeline. Most importantly, the program was a success.  Here’s an account of what happened.


Utilities Engage Industrial Customers in Strategic Energy Management  

Training and Coaching Programs Can Save Significant Energy
Posted by Neil Kolwey Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:47 AM Categories: Industrial

As utilities look for new programs to help achieve their energy savings goals, it makes sense to consider enhancing those programs already offered for industrial and other large customers. The best industrial programs include good-quality technical assistance and allow longer time-frames to complete projects. Some programs also offer multi-year planning assistance and bonus incentives to help get larger projects implemented. Here's a look at the latest "continuous improvement" industrial energy efficiency programs offered...


Colorado Hits the Accelerator for Electric Vehicles! 

Posted by Will Toor Tue, 06/07/2016 - 01:27 PM Categories: Transportation

Colorado Hits the Accelerator for Electric Vehicles!Colorado has strengthened its claim to being a national leader in promoting electric vehicles with the passage of HB 1332 legislation that is designed to make the state income tax credit for electric vehicles more effective at increasing EV sales. The bill makes two major changes – simplifying the tax credit, and making the credits assignable, allowing them to function more like a point of sale rebate. The Washington Post  and Time Magazine  describe this bill as making Colorado the best state to buy a new electric car.

Colorado already had an income tax credit in place for EVs, in place through 2021. This, along with a suite of supportive policies, has propelled Colorado into the top ten states for per capita EV sales. In 2015, a hard year for EV sales nationally, Colorado bucked the trend with a 10% increase in EV sales over 2014. But the changes in HB 1332 should further accelerate sales!


Is 9 Times 12 Good for Energy Efficiency in Buildings? 

This Year, Maybe Not
Posted by Jim Meyers Tue, 05/10/2016 - 04:52 PM Categories: Buildings

The answer is 108, and it’s the number of hours that stakeholders spent assembling the ingredients for the next iteration of building energy codes—or what’s known as the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The outcome from the first hearings this year did not bode well for energy efficiency and the gains that have been made in the energy codes since the 2009 IECC.  Southwest officials will need to speak up, attend and vote in October to make sure energy efficiency remains an important cornerstone in building energy codes.


The Supreme Court Did Not "Stay" Energy Efficiency 

Posted by Ann Livingston Mon, 04/25/2016 - 04:44 PM Categories: State & Local Government Utility Policy

The Environmental Protection Agency has included energy efficiency as a compliance option under the Clean Power Plan. This enables states and utilities to meet emissions reductions goals at least cost and—quite likely—net economic benefits for households, businesses and the economy as a whole. Whether states and utilities are waiting for a Supreme Court decision on the "stay" of the Clean Power Plan or moving forward with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency is the least-cost compliance path and has other benefits.  


Sensible Rate Design for Residential and Small Business Customers 

Posted by Howard Geller Mon, 04/18/2016 - 05:00 AM Categories: Utility Policy

With growth in electricity sales disappearing and adoption of rooftop solar systems expanding, electric utilities are increasingly proposing new rate designs in order to protect and stabilize their revenues. Many utilities are proposing to increase the monthly fixed charge and consequently reduce the variable “cents per kilowatt-hour” energy charge that households and small businesses pay. Charging residential and small business customers for the peak electricity demand that they register in any particular month is another proposal that is starting to surface in the Southwest. Here's how those proposals affect customers and why SWEEP participates in rate cases throughout the Southwest in order to ensure that rates continue to encourage greater energy efficiency.

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