Energy Efficient Buildings Would Reduce Global Warming Pollution, Save Colorado Families $358 Annually

Environment Colorado

Denver, Colorado − Colorado families could save $358 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 Colorado. Saving energy in our buildings would also help Colorado’s fight against global warming, reducing global warming pollution from buildings by 39 percent.

“It’s time to build better,” said Environment Colorado, Senior Associate, Jeanne Bassett. “Bold efficiency measures for buildings can cut energy use in our homes and businesses by 24% 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 $4 billion every year.

The report, Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency, analyzes the benefits Colorado 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 in Colorado would:

• Reduce the projected energy use of Colorado’s buildings 24% by 2030

• Prevent the cumulative emissions of 15 million tons of global warming pollution by 2030, the equivalent of removing 2.9 million passenger vehicles from the road in two decades. (Colorado currently has a total of 5 million registered passenger vehicles.)

• Save the average Colorado family of four $358 a year by 2030.

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

“Building homes and commercial buildings right the first time is the best future proofing we can do for Colorado homeowners today. Today we have homes built 15 percent to 30 percent more efficient than standard code built homes because of utility new construction programs such as Xcel’s ENERGY STAR New Homes. Taking the next step to adopt a more efficient building code such as the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, will drive us further towards the goals in this report and position homes to affordably add renewable energy,” said Jim Meyers, Director of Buildings Efficiency Program, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

The report calls 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.