Sen. Udall builds stronger foundation for zero energy homes

Environment Colorado

Today, an amendment offered by Senator Mark Udall (D- CO) to authorize funding the Zero Energy Homes Program passed in committee.  The amendment authorizes $40 million to fund the program that is designed to promote technologies and strategies in the design and construction of net-zero energy buildings.

“This amendment helps build the foundation for a green economic recovery,” says Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado.  “It’s clear that Sen. Udall understands the relationship between a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.”

America is the largest consumer of energy in the world. Almost half of the energy we use—10 percent of the energy in the world—powers our buildings.  Most of this energy comes from burning fossil fuels which contributes to global warming and air pollution, as well as puts our energy security at risk.

Aggressively pursuing energy efficiency is a winning strategy for Colorado’s workers, according to a new report by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). The report finds that increasing the efficiency of electricity, natural gas, and gasoline use would lead to a net increase of 4,660 jobs in Colorado by 2015 and 11,600 jobs by 2025.

“Energy efficiency improvements to new and existing homes will put people to work throughout Colorado and the nation,” said Howard Geller, Executive Director of Southwest Energy Efficiency Projects. “By authorizing funding to the Zero Energy Homes Program, energy efficiency improvement benefits consumers by lowering utility bills and benefits the environment by cutting pollution from energy production,” Geller added.

According to a report by Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center, half of the buildings constructed today will still be in use in the middle of this century. The decisions made today will have a lasting effect on our energy economy. 

“We need to put America on the path toward zero energy buildings, and start taking advantage of all the energy efficiency technologies that are available and cost-effective today,” said Danny Katz, State Director for Colorado Public Interest Research.  “Thanks to Senator Udall’s leadership, policy-makers are making appropriate steps to make energy-efficient buildings the standard.”

Sen. Udall’s amendment acknowledges the fact that we could be using far less energy in our buildings. Homes and businesses exist that use a fraction of the energy of typical buildings— some also generate 100 percent or more of the energy needed to power them on-site, using renewable sources such as wind and solar power. 

“Energy efficiency in residential homes is one of the most important aspects of building a New Energy Economy both nationally and here at home,” said Nichole Goodman, Policy Director for Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.  “Colorado is quickly becoming a national leader in creating a green economic recovery and with Sen. Udall’s leadership Colorado will continue to set the benchmark.”