Report: Energy Efficient Colorado

Smart Savings

Practical Energy Efficiency Policies That Will Save Coloradans Money
Released by: CoPIRG Foundation

Coloradans use more energy in their homes, businesses, and government buildings than they need to. This results in higher energy bills, adverse public health impacts, and environmental degradation.     

The more energy people use, the more power supply companies will need to build base-load electrical generation, and this new generation is often very expensive. For example, Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest gas and electricity utility, recently reported the 2nd highest electricity rate increase in the country. This rate increase was largely due to the building of a large new coal plant and a natural gas plant. 

In addition, a lot of Colorado’s electrical power generation comes from dirty fuel sources which have adverse effects on our public health and environment.                                                                                                           

Fortunately, there are many practical ways to use energy more efficiently to save Coloradans money and protect public health. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has set a goal for investor-owned utilities Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy to reduce their energy electricity sales by at least 10% by the year 2020 through the implementation of cost-effective energy savings programs. This has resulted in important savings for Xcel ratepayers. For example, Xcel estimates that annually its energy conservation programs save the energy required to power 50,000 homes.

However, Colorado should do better. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Colorado 19th nationally for its implementation of energy efficiency policies and current laws on the books.

Colorado needs to place more emphasis on implementing smart, practical energy efficiency policies that save consumers money by negating the need to build costly new power generation and transmission capacity and reducing the adverse public health consequences of current energy production. This report highlights policies Colorado could enact to prioritize energy efficiency. Since these policies address different sectors of the Colorado economy implementing several of them in tandem would be a way to comprehensively promote energy efficiency in the Colorado economy and provide greater benefits to Colorado residents and businesses. 

Our report looks at 10 different policies:

  1. Creating and Adopting Energy Efficiency Rating System
  2. Setting a Statewide Electricity Reduction Goal of 10% for All Colorado Electric Utilities 
  3. Updating Building Codes
  4. Setting a Television Efficiency Standard
  5. Requiring Homebuilders to Offer Energy Efficient Building Options 
  6. Requiring Construction of Near Net-Zero Homes
  7. Local Governments Opting-In to Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (PACE)
  8. Increasing Resources for Energy Efficiency Education 
  9. Increasing Energy Efficiency Standards for Schools and State Government Building
  10. Requiring Existing Private Commercial Buildings to Reduce Energy Use

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