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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Energy Efficiency is Good for NM: Building A Better America

Energy Efficient Buildings Would Reduce Global Warming Pollution, Save New Mexican Families $309 Annually  (photo to right by amerigreen, insert by dfnm)

CO2-emissionsNew Mexican families could save $309 every year on their electricity bills by 2030 if the government invests in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, according to a new report by Environment New Mexico. Saving energy in our buildings would also help New Mexico’s fight against global warming, reducing global warming pollution from buildings by 31 percent—the equivalent of taking more than 657,000 cars off the road.

“It’s time to build better,” said Sanders Moore, Director, Environment New Mexico.  “Bold efficiency measures for buildings can cut energy use in our homes and businesses by almost a quarter by 2030, reducing pollution and saving consumers money.”

Right now, 40 percent of the energy used in America goes to heat, cool, and power our buildings. And because much of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power, this accounts for nearly half of global warming pollution in the country. Furthermore, much of this energy is wasted, flying out of leaky doors and windows. This high level of energy consumption pumps billions of tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere and costs Americans nearly $400 billion every year.

Our report, Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency, analyzes the benefits New Mexico would see if we committed to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. The report uses government data to estimate reduced energy consumption, decreased fossil fuel use, money saved on energy bills, and global warming pollution prevented in 2020 and 2030.

Making our buildings more efficient would:

  • Reduce the projected energy use of New Mexico’s buildings 28% percent by 2030
  • Prevent the emission of 7.85 million tons of global warming pollution every year by 2030, the equivalent of taking 657,000 cars off the road.
  • Save the average New Mexico family of four $309 a year by 2030.

“That’s the best part about making energy efficiency improvements,” said Moore. “They pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year.”

Hotel-Andaluz-Rooftop-PanelsGary Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of Goodman Realty and owner of Hotel Andaluz stated that “energy efficiency is a ‘win-win’ proposition. There is a good payback on the investment, we promote our local economy, conserve resources and reduce pollution.  In addition, there is a very real opportunity to make Albuquerque and New Mexico a national leader in the field of resource management.” (Photo above by treehugger, insert by dfnm.)

Environment New Mexico is calling for policies that will help us reach our efficiency goals, including:

  • Steady improvements to building codes over time so that all new buildings are increasingly efficient, culminating in a zero net energy standard by 2030, when new buildings should be so efficient that they can produce all the energy they need on site using renewable energy like wind and solar.
  • Investing in energy retrofits and weatherization to improve the efficiency of existing buildings 30 percent by 2030.
  • Supporting innovative financing mechanisms that will unleash public and private investment in building efficiency.

As documented in this report, successful efficiency programs and incentives at the federal, state, and local level are already paying off, saving consumers money and dramatically reducing energy use. For example, Silver Gardens, a mixed-income, award-winning apartment building in downtown Albuquerque is helping tenants maintain low electric bills by reducing overall energy use by a minimum of 27% over conventionally constructed buildings.  Shelly Capone with Romero-Rose, the developer and owner of Silver Gardens noted that they are “very proud to have produced a high energy efficient, mixed-income apartment complex on a former brownfield site in downtown Albuquerque.”

“There are already thousands of super-efficient buildings all around the country, Silver Gardens apartment building and Hotel Andaluz are two examples right here in downtown Albuquerque” concluded Moore. “Most buildings last for decades, so investing in energy efficiency locks in savings for years to come and builds a strong foundation for the future of our environment and our economy.”

March 27, 2012 at 05:32 PM in Building Code Energy Efficiency, Climate, Energy, Environment | Permalink

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