Smart energy efforts recognized nationally

BOULDER — The city of Boulder’s SmartRegs ordinance and the EnergySmart service were presented with the J. Robert Havlick award for Innovation in Government on April 18 by the Alliance for Innovation at its annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Innovation Awards are chosen from the 70-plus applications received by a multimember selection committee consisting of city and county managers from across the United States and Alliance staff.

The selection committee looks for local governments that have shown a dedication to stretching and improving the boundaries of day-to-day government operations and practices, implementing creative business processes, and improving the civic health of the community.

These programs won the 2012 J. Robert Havlick Award for Innovation in Local Government for “demonstrating a pragmatic and progressive approach for long-lasting energy savings in their community,” said Karen Thoreson, president of the Alliance for Innovation. “The work combined the successful and innovative approach of utilizing a regulatory platform, financial incentives and technical assistance tools for homeowners and renters in order to achieve measurable and meaningful results.”

In September 2010, Boulder City Council adopted three ordinances requiring all of Boulder’s rental housing – approximately half of the city’s housing stock – to meet energy efficiency standards by 2019. The new “SmartRegs” requirements went into effect in January 2011, and are part of the Climate Action Plan’s “Reduce Use” strategy area, which was established to promote energy-conserving behavior in homes and businesses throughout Boulder.

To help homeowners, landlords and tenants navigate the new SmartRegs ordinance, the city and Boulder County created a SmartRegs path through EnergySmart.

EnergySmart services provide efficiency solutions for homes, whether rental or owner-occupied, commercial businesses, and property owners in all Boulder County communities, resulting in permanent improvements to the existing building stock. The EnergySmart service provides people with an energy assessment, as well as an expert Energy Advisor who recommends upgrades specific to each property, helps with rebate and financing applications, and even helps collect bids from contractors to perform energy upgrades.

Some of the key results in the city of Boulder from 2011’s SmartRegs and EnergySmart efforts include:

• 678 owner-occupied units participated in the EnergySmart services, with 67 percent completing upgrades.

• 2,081 renter-occupied units participated in the EnergySmart service as a result of the SmartRegs policy, with 33 percent completing upgrades.

• Owner-occupied units that participated saw an average annual energy savings of 714 kilowatts of electricity and 226 therms of natural gas (equivalent to $219 per year).

• Renter-occupied units that participated saw an average annual energy savings of 217 kilowatts of electricity and 72 therms of natural gas (equivalent to $63 per year).

• 1,687 services were provided to 960 individual businesses.

• Commercial property owners and businesses receiving quick installs saw an average annual energy savings of 421 kilowatts of electricity (equivalent to $52 per year), and 14,930 kilowatts of electricity for businesses receiving upgrades (equivalent to $1,318 per year).

The results achieved through both EnergySmart and SmartRegs demonstrate an innovative approach to complementing a policy requirement with assistance and funding to ease the burden of compliance.

EnergySmart aims to reach at least 10,000 homes and 3,000 businesses throughout Boulder County by June 2013. It is designed to stimulate local economic growth; increase energy efficiency investment in Colorado; and advance the state’s energy independence through energy upgrades.

EnergySmart is a collaborative partnership throughout Boulder County, funded by a $25 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program, combined with contributions from the city of Boulder’s Climate Action Plan tax and the city of Longmont.

The Alliance for Innovation is an international network of progressive governments and partners committed to transforming local government by accelerating the development and dissemination of innovations. They seek out innovative practices, challenge existing business models, exchange knowledge, and provide products and services that help members perform at their best.

For more information on EnergySmart programs and services, visit www.EnergySmartYes.com, or call 303-544-1000 for residential information and 303-441-1300 for commercial information.