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Posts in Category: State & Local Government

Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan Paves the Way toward 100 Percent Clean Vehicles

Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan Paves the Way toward 100 Percent Clean Vehicles
On April 23, the Colorado Energy Office unveiled the new and improved Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan, a guiding document that sets forth the State’s ambitious EV targets and outlines the programs, policies, and strategies required to transition the transportation sector to clean, zero-emission vehicles. Transportation is a leading source of climate-changing pollution in Colorado and vehicles are also a major source of soot and smog pollution that harm public health (and increase the risks... More
 

Building Electrification and National Building Standards Support Each Other

Building Electrification and National Building Standards Support Each Other
Building electrification is the new buzz word for construction in states and cities. For the past 20 years, SWEEP has focused on bringing energy efficiency throughout the Southwest. Over this period, the building efficiency world has changed. If we think back only ten years ago, cities, states, and the building industry were in the throes of a deep recession which started, depending upon who you ask, in the finance and building industry. At that time, the focus to reduce energy consumption was... More
 

Nevada Transportation Electrification Forum Extols Virtues of Zero Emission Vehicles

Nevada Transportation Electrification Forum Extols Virtues of Zero Emission Vehicles
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) joined Plug-In America and Clark County to present the Nevada Transportation Electrification Forum on Thursday, March 12, 2020. More than 100 key stakeholders gathered to learn about the benefits of transportation electrification and explore public and private sector efforts to accelerate the transition to electric transportation in the Silver State. “Driving on electricity makes sense,” said Tom Polikalas, SWEEP’s Nevada Representative.... More
 

New Mexico Legislative Session Ends with a Thud

Despite Governor's Support EV Bills Fall Short
New Mexico Legislative Session Ends with a Thud
SWEEP is disappointed in the 2020 NM State Legislature’s failure to pass two vital pieces of energy efficiency and clean transportation legislation. Despite full support of the Governor, many lawmakers and low-income advocates, the legislature did not pass either SB114, the Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) block grant or SB2/HB217 the Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit. Despite the ultimate failure of these bills, we would like to thank our very strong and supportive sponsors.... More
 

Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream with Super Bowls Ads

Four big automakers spend millions to showcase their new models
Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream with Super Bowls Ads
Super Bowl commercials are famous for creating awareness and buzz about the latest consumer products and services. In fact, the intrigue involving the commercials has become nearly as important as the game itself. So it's significant that four major automakers spent big bucks to signal to consumers that a variety of electric vehicles have arrived in the U.S. marketplace. Audi, Ford, GM, and Porsche spent an average of $5.6 million per 30-second ad to showcase their new models to the 197... More
 

New Xcel Energy Rate Could Speed RTD's Purchase of Electric Buses

New Xcel Energy Rate Could Speed RTD
Note: A previous edition of this blog used inaccurate data from other sources to calculate the projected fuel cost savings under the new Xcel Commercial EV rate. It has been updated. The electric bus market is booming. As of September, more than 200 transit agencies nationwide had purchased more than 2,000 electric buses. Colorado’s Regional Transit District (RTD) has one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country with 36 all-electric MallRide buses traveling up and down the 16th... More
 

Proposed Arizona Law Could Prevent Municipalities from Adopting Energy and Water-Saving Codes

Arizona cities and counties could lose much of their ability to protect your health and safety when you are inside of a building
Proposed Arizona Law Could Prevent Municipalities from Adopting Energy and Water-Saving Codes
Two bills, which are being fast-tracked through the state legislature, would prevent local leaders from modifying certain kinds of building codes. These codes are designed to establish minimum standards for building safety, durability, efficiency, air-quality, water usage, and more. Under current law, local governments are allowed to establish local building codes based on local needs and values. That’s possible because Arizona’s constitution makes Arizona a “home rule” state, underscoring... More
 

Top Ten Energy Efficiency Stories from the Southwest in 2019

Top Ten Energy Efficiency Stories from the Southwest in 2019
In 2019, SWEEP and its allies were instrumental in securing approval of numerous new policies that will advance energy efficiency and vehicle electrification in the Southwest. Here is my list of the Top Ten success stories of 2019, in no particular order regarding importance. Colorado Governor Issues EV Executive Order On January 17th, newly elected Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued and Executive Order supporting vehicle electrification in the state. Among its directives, it... More
 

Arizona Poised to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption

Arizona Poised to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption
Conversations centered on transportation electrification continue to pick up steam across the Southwest. This is especially true in Arizona since the Arizona Corporation Commission approved two electric vehicle policies in January 2019 and July 2019. Heightened interest in transportation electrification policies is one reason why SWEEP, Plug In America, and Arizona State University’s Energy Policy Innovation Council, recently organized the first annual Arizona Transportation Electrification... More
 

Surge of Interest in "Zero Energy Ready" Homes in Southern Nevada

Surge of Interest in "Zero Energy Ready" Homes in Southern Nevada
Please note: A previous blog post describing this event was a draft and posted before some errors were corrected. On the cusp of Thanksgiving, we extend our thanks to you for your patience and your ongoing support of energy efficiency. Tom Polikalas The "Zero Energy Ready Home" (ZERH) workshop, hosted by Southwest Gas on November 18, 2019 in Las Vegas, drew together a broad cross section of Nevadans to explore cost-effective ways to save energy, benefit Nevada's economy, and improve the... More
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor airPLUS Program Leaders of the Year Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor airPLUS Program Leaders of the Year Awards
Congratulations to EPA’s Indoor airPLUS Program 2019 Leader Award winners! Each year only one builder and one rater are selected for these prestigious awards. It is Energy Inspectors, based out of Las Vegas, second consecutive year to be selected. Thrive Home Builders is based out of Denver, CO and it’s the first year they have won this award. The EPA announced and awarded their Leadership awards at the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) High Performance Home Summit on October ... More
 

Southwest States Leading the Nation in Energy Efficiency Job Growth

Southwest States Leading the Nation in Energy Efficiency Job Growth
As SWEEP reported earlier, energy efficiency jobs are booming in the Southwest, growing almost 5% between 2017 and 2018 according to the 2019 U.S Energy and Employment report. Increasing energy efficiency reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves customers money on their energy bills, and provides a significant source of employment. A new report provides more detail on the key role of energy efficiency jobs in the Southwest and highlights the differences among states based on recent policy and ... More
 

Colorado’s Basalt Vista Neighborhood: “A Net Zero Affordable Housing Community”

by Nancy Kellogg
Colorado’s Basalt Vista Neighborhood: “A Net Zero Affordable Housing Community”
The town of Basalt, Colorado had a big problem. The local school district was struggling to attract and retain quality teaching staff due to low wages (30% less than comparable schools) and high local housing costs (30% more). But an innovative solution arose from this difficult situation that has resulted in an incredible community collaboration to build Basalt Vista, an all-electric, net zero, affordable housing community. Roaring Fork Valley (RFV), Habitat for Humanity (H4H), and... More
 

A New Model for Energy Codes in Home Rule States

A New Model for Energy Codes in Home Rule States
Most states adopt consistent and standard statewide building codes. But a handful of states – including the southwest states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Wyoming – leave code adoption up to each and every local jurisdiction, creating a patchwork of confusing and often-outdated codes. In Colorado, for instance, even though most high-construction areas have up-to-date codes, more than 150 jurisdictions have an energy code from 2009 or earlier, and another 50 jurisdictions have no building... More
 

Energy Efficiency Jobs Booming in the Southwest

Energy Efficiency Jobs Booming in the Southwest
The Southwest region (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming) added 6,127 jobs focused entirely or partially on improving energy efficiency in 2018 according to the newly released 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. Energy efficiency remains the top sector for energy jobs in the Southwest, ahead of oil and natural gas production, electric power generation, and other energy supply sectors covered in the report. The chart below shows the number of energy efficiency jobs in ... More
 

Why the 2018 Building Energy Savings Code Is Fair to Solar Energy – and Good for Consumers

Changing one small part of IECC could unbalance the system
Why the 2018 Building Energy Savings Code Is Fair to Solar Energy – and Good for Consumers
As state and local officials tackle building energy code issues in 2019, they likely will hear discussions about how solar photo voltaic (PV) power should fit into the energy code, and if solar energy can “trade off” for energy efficiency. Some interest groups want policymakers to weaken the efficiency requirements for new homes if the houses also have solar energy, but those requests fail to understand three things: Solar energy and efficiency are not the same thing, and cannot be traded... More
 

Advancing Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reductions in the Southwest

Electrification has emerged as key climate strategy for the transportation sector
Advancing Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reductions in the Southwest
In November, 2018, Colorado joined 12 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting the California Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards. The standards require the average real-world fuel economy of new vehicles to reach 36 mpg by 2025. Currently, the California LEV standards are identical to federal standards, but the Trump Administration is attempting to rollback the federal fuel efficiency standards and freeze the requirements in 2020, which will increase both pollution and fuel costs ... More
 

Electric Power Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in the Southwest

The critical role of energy efficiency
Electric Power Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in the Southwest
One of energy efficiency’s many benefits is that it reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by decreasing the amount of electricity that utility companies must generate to meet customer demand. So, let’s look at just how big a role efficiency can play in cutting climate change pollution. In its recently released data on energy-related GHG emissions, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a continued decline in nationwide GHG emissions from electricity generation. Nationally, EIA ... More
 

Cracking the Code on EV-Ready Building Codes

Among best ways for cities, states to encourage consumers to switch to electric cars
Cracking the Code on EV-Ready Building Codes
Imagine that you just bought a new condo and, since you care about saving the planet while saving yourself money, you’re also thinking about buying a new electric vehicle (EV). You check your new parking lot for an electrical outlet, only to find that there isn’t one. With persistence, you ask the property owner about installing an EV charging station in the parking lot for communal use, but after reviewing the building plans together, you discover that the property does not have the electrical ... More
 

Tucson and Pima County Lead With Ultra-Efficient Buildings

Both Approve 2018 Energy Conservation Code
Tucson and Pima County Lead With Ultra-Efficient Buildings
Future jobs and savings for homeowners and tenants all scored a big win within the past week, when the Tucson, AZ, City Council and the Pima County, AZ Board of Supervisors approved the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and council members from all six wards and, separately, all five Pima County supervisors agreed that future homes and apartments should provide healthy, secure, and energy-efficient housing in southern Arizona’s biggest... More
 

Autonomous Vehicle Policy: Taking the wheel on driverless cars

Will it be "heaven" or "hell" for traffic congestion?
Autonomous Vehicle Policy: Taking the wheel on driverless cars
Just about every day I open the paper and read about some new technological or business development regarding driverless cars. Most of these stories come with breathless anticipation of all of the great things that autonomous vehicles will bring: fewer crashes, less congestion, more access for people who can’t drive. In some authors’ telling, personal car ownership will quickly become a thing of the past, replaced by electric “robo” taxis called up on a moment’s notice, paving the way for a... More
 

SWEEP Endorses Sales Tax Increase for Colorado’s Transportation Needs

Only one ballot measure can untangle CO's transportation mess
SWEEP Endorses Sales Tax Increase for Colorado’s Transportation Needs
Coloradans can help untangle their transportation woes by supporting a ballot measure, currently called Initiative 153, but they shouldn’t be fooled by a go-nowhere alternative that does nothing to solve the complex problem. SWEEP endorses one measure that appears to have made the ballot. On August 6, organizers from Let’s Go Colorado delivered 198,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State for Initiative 153, which will let voters decide whether to raise the sales tax rate by 0.62... More
 

Group Buy Programs Boost Electric Car Sales

Offers key opportunities for regional collaboration on clean transportation
Group Buy Programs Boost Electric Car Sales
Widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption faces several challenges, including lack of consumer awareness, limited EV inventory, insufficient sales training, and the high price of new electric cars. EV group buy programs address these obstacles by bringing together local governments, nonprofits, electric utilities, auto dealerships, and auto manufacturers to boost EV sales through a combination of community engagement and EV purchasing incentives. What are EV group buy programs? EV group... More
 

Can Energy-Inefficient Buildings Harm Your Health?

Yes, unfortunately
Can Energy-Inefficient Buildings Harm Your Health?
Yes, unfortunately an energy-inefficient building can make you sick, lead to premature death, and inflict social injustice. But the building industry and public housing officials can reduce this human suffering by taking steps to improve – wait for it – energy efficiency. That’s because efficiency improves air quality inside and out of homes and apartments, while also helping residents survive extreme weather events, heat waves, and cold weather. Moreover, energy efficiency reduces the need for ... More
 

Is it Possible to Buy a Zero-Energy Ready Home Without Breaking the Bank?

Getting to zero isn't actually that difficult
Is it Possible to Buy a Zero-Energy Ready Home Without Breaking the Bank?
Download a PDF version of this article Is it possible to build, buy, or rent affordable, hyper-efficient home –- what the U.S. Department of Energy calls Zero-Net Energy or Zero Energy Ready Homes? A Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) building represents the next evolution in home efficiency, bringing together advanced technologies and building methods to create a house or apartment structure that potentially can produce as much energy as it uses (hence, the term Zero Energy, because the buildings don’t ... More
 
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