The City of Boulder’s SmartRegs ordinance and the EnergySmart service were presented with the J. Robert Havlick award for Innovation in Government by the Alliance for Innovation at its annual conference in Kansas City, MO, on April 18. The City of Boulder applied for this award with the goal of sharing the innovative design of the EnergySmart service, SmartRegs policy, as well as the creative collaboration between the two. Winning the award offers a valuable avenue for sharing the program and policy design and lessons learned with communities throughout the nation.
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 (CAP) “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 offers residents a Home 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 key results in the City of Boulder from SmartRegs and EnergySmart in 2011 include:
- 678 owner-occupied units participated in the EnergySmart services, with 67% completing upgrades.
- 2,081 renter-occupied units participated in the EnergySmart service as a result of the SmartRegs policy, with 33% completing upgrades.
- Participating owner-occupied units saw an average annual energy savings of 714 kWh of electricity and 226 therms of natural gas (equivalent to $219 per year).
- Participating renter-occupied units saw an average annual energy savings of 217 kWh of electricity and 72 therms of natural gas (equivalent to $63 per year).
- 1,687 Commercial EnergySmart services were provided to 960 individual businesses.
- Commercial property owners and businesses receiving quick installs saw an average annual energy savings of 421 kWh of electricity (equivalent to $52 per year), and 14,930 kWh of electricity for businesses receiving upgrades (equivalent to $1,318 per year).
The results achieved through both EnergySmart and SmartRegs demonstrate the power of 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 efficiency 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.
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.