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Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: Utah edition

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: Utah edition
If you are looking for a way to reduce your personal contributions to carbon emissions, a good place to start is switching to an efficient electric heat pump to heat and cool your home. For homes in Utah, this will have about the same impact as switching your car (or truck) to an electric vehicle. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) just released an updated study of the benefits of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) for Southwest homes, about 65% of which currently... More
 

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: New Mexico edition

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: New Mexico edition
Moved by fires, droughts, and other climate change-driven extreme weather, more and more New Mexicans are asking, “what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint?” A good place to start is switching to an efficient electric heat pump to heat and cool your home. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) just released an updated study of the benefits of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) for Southwest homes, about 65% of which currently use gas for heating. Gas prices have... More
 

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: Nevada edition

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: Nevada edition
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project just released an updated study of the benefits of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) for Southwest homes, about 65% of which currently use gas for heating. Gas prices have increased significantly in the last six months, and as a result heat pumps and HPWHs are now much more cost-effective than they were one or two years ago. In addition, heat pump and HPWH performance and availability have continued to improve. For homes in Las Vegas and... More
 

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: Arizona edition

Benefits of heat pumps for Southwest homes: Arizona edition
If you are looking for a way to reduce your personal contributions to carbon emissions, a good place to start is switching to an efficient electric heat pump to heat and cool your home. For Arizonans, this also reduces the home’s annual heating costs by about 40%. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project just released an updated study of the benefits of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) for Southwest homes, about 65% of which currently use gas for heating. Gas prices have... More
 

Smart land use: The untapped climate policy

Smart land use: The untapped climate policy
Fly into Denver International Airport (DIA) in the daylight and you can look down on acres of open land being groomed for sprawling single-family development. In 2021, over ¾ of lots under development in the Denver region were in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, mostly single-detached homes built on undeveloped land far from jobs, shopping, and other destinations. This type of low-density, auto-centric growth is incompatible with Colorado’s air quality and climate goals, and will only... More
 

SWEEP study: Benefits of heat pumps for Colorado homes

SWEEP study: Benefits of heat pumps for Colorado homes
In response to devastating wildfires in Colorado and other climate change-driven extreme weather around the county, more and more Coloradans are asking, “what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint?” A good place to start is switching to an efficient electric heat pump to heat and cool the home. This switch would have a similar impact to switching from a gasoline-powered car or truck to an electric vehicle. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) just released an updated study of... More
 

A just energy transition for New Mexico

A just energy transition for New Mexico
This is a guest post written by Travis Kellerman. Follow him on Twitter. New Mexico finds itself thrust into an unprecedented position of leadership in the race to transition to clean energy. We have an opportunity to unveil a model that combines climate and economic justice. We can show the rest of the country: This is how we adapt and fight together, with affordable energy for all and efficiency investments for those who need it most. There are dueling demands in the critical energy... More
 

SWEEP staff reflects on policy wins in 2021, gives hope for 2022

SWEEP staff reflects on policy wins in 2021, gives hope for 2022
With 2021 fading into the history books and a new year almost upon us, we thought it’d be the perfect time to check in with some of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s (SWEEP) energy efficiency experts to find out about a top policy win they’re particularly proud of from this past year, as well as a New Year’s resolution for 2022. On the heels of all that we’ve accomplished and celebrated over the past two decades, we are hopeful and looking forward to adding to those achievements. Happy... More
 

SWEEP celebrating 20 years of EE success on Energy Efficiency Day

SWEEP celebrating 20 years of EE success on Energy Efficiency Day
In recognition of the 6th annual national Energy Efficiency Day (#EEDay2021) on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is joining regional and national organizations, businesses, utilities, universities, and individuals in promoting energy efficiency — the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy needs, cut utility bills, and reduce pollution. Energy efficiency is also an economic engine, amassing a U.S. workforce of nearly 2.4 million by the beginning of this... More
 

Arizona and the Build Back Better Act: An urgent call for support

Arizona and the Build Back Better Act: An urgent call for support
These are challenging times for Arizona. Record drought has caused another horrendous wildfire season and another summer of scorching temperatures and record heatwaves from Phoenix to Tucson. It’s also triggered the unprecedented decision to cut back Arizona’s share of water from the Colorado River, which will significantly impact our state’s hard-working farmers. In addition, intense heat exacerbates air quality problems, resulting in dozens of ozone alerts this summer and signaling unhealthy... More
 

Energy efficiency progress in 2021 Southwest legislative sessions

Energy efficiency progress in 2021 Southwest legislative sessions
Now that the 2021 legislative sessions have gaveled to a close in state capitals across the Southwest, it’s time to celebrate what we accomplished on energy efficiency and clean transportation. While most eyes were on the new leadership in Washington, D.C., important progress was being made in both Democrat- and Republican-led legislative chambers throughout the region. These successes came in the form of bills to eliminate wasteful energy use, cut air pollution and climate altering emissions,... More
 

Innovation in energy and climate policy for buildings

Progress in colorado
Innovation in energy and climate policy for buildings
The Colorado legislature adopted a wide range of new policies to advance clean energy and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its recently concluded 2021 session. In addition to approving new policies to lower GHG emissions in the utility, transportation and oil and gas sectors, the legislature approved several innovative policies that will increase energy efficiency and decarbonize energy use in Colorado’s buildings. Here’s a summary of these new policies. SB21-246 advances... More
 

A breakdown of Colorado’s giant transportation funding bill

Senate Bill 260 is a big win for electric vehicles, a mixed bag for climate
A breakdown of Colorado’s giant transportation funding bill
This week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 260 (SB260) into law, marking the passage of the most comprehensive transportation funding package in decades. The legislation will raise $5.4 billion over the next 10 years through a combination of general fund transfers and new fees on gasoline, diesel, electric vehicles (EVs), residential deliveries, and rideshare trips to repair and expand our decaying transportation system and clean up its air pollution. While not perfect, the ... More
 

On the cusp of a market transition: All-electric new construction in Colorado

On the cusp of a market transition: All-electric new construction in Colorado
We surveyed builders from across Colorado to uncover examples of new, all-electric homes — a trend far more common in other parts of the country, but finally gaining a foothold in southwestern climates thanks to some impressive technology advances. In SWEEP's recently-published fact sheet, we profiled 11 examples of all-electric construction either recently built or underway — including large master-planned developments, custom-built single-family homes, multifamily buildings, and a pre-K-12... More
 

Failure to pass HB206 leaves New Mexican families in the dust

Failure to pass HB206 leaves New Mexican families in the dust
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is disappointed in the 2021 New Mexico State Legislature’s failure to pass House Bill 206 (HB206), the Utility Affordability and Relief Act. Despite receiving full support of many lawmakers, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) Chair, low-income advocates, social justice organizations, and environmental groups, the Senate Finance Committee refused to hold a hearing on the bill. After passing two committees in the House, the House... More
 

Developer of Reno apartment complex reduces pollution by choosing heat pumps over gas

Developer of Reno apartment complex reduces pollution by choosing heat pumps over gas
There’s a critical need for additional housing in northern Nevada as the area sees rapid job growth associated with economic diversification. Charles Bluth, an entrepreneur who since 1969 has specialized in land acquisition and developments in California, Nevada, and Arizona, has helped respond to the local demand for multi-family housing with his 768-unit project, The Lakes at Lemmon Valley. This project notably avoids natural gas for space and water heating and cooking. Instead of fossil... More
 

ICC’s Energy Code — or should I say "Standard" — is moving to zero

ICC’s Energy Code — or should I say "Standard" — is moving to zero
After months of meetings, emails, articles, and hours of testimony and concerns voiced about the validity of a new concept, the International Code Council (ICC) Board has decided to move the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) from the ICC code development process to the ICC standards development process. The concern with moving to the standards development process was the potential for the IECC to roll back progress made on efficiency, which would undermine states’ and municipal... More
 

Colorado’s Local Governments Leading the Way on Electric Transportation with GoEV City Commitments

Colorado’s Local Governments Leading the Way on Electric Transportation with GoEV City Commitments
Local governments around Colorado are making the GoEV City commitment — a pledge to electrify 100% of the cars, trucks, and buses in their communities over the next few decades. By joining the GoEV Campaign, six communities — Fort Collins, Boulder County, Denver, City of Boulder, Summit County, and City of Golden — are giving their residents an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, breathe cleaner air, save money, and lead the way toward greater electric vehicle (EV) adoption... More
 

Top 10 Energy Efficiency Stories from the Southwest in 2020

Top 10 Energy Efficiency Stories from the Southwest in 2020
Significant progress was made on the energy efficiency and clean transportation fronts in the Southwest this past year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and all its adverse impacts. Here is my list of the Top 10 energy efficiency stories from the region in 2020. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) team played a key role in securing these advances. 1) Lower income households receive increased energy efficiency support The number of families struggling to pay energy bills surged due... More
 

The Biden Clean Energy and Climate Plan: Partnering with States, Local Governments, and Utilities

The Biden Clean Energy and Climate Plan: Partnering with States, Local Governments, and Utilities
President-elect Biden has promised to address the climate crisis as one of his top priorities, and to do so in a way that creates millions of well-paying jobs while advancing environmental justice. The President-elect’s Clean Energy Plan includes some noteworthy national goals including achieving carbon-free power generation and cutting the carbon footprint of our building stock 50 percent by 2035, and constructing 500,000 public charging stations to accelerate the transition to electric... More
 

Arizona regulators poised to expand efficiency targets in clean energy rules

Arizona regulators poised to expand efficiency targets in clean energy rules
In a decisive 4-1 vote this month, the bipartisan members of the Arizona Corporation Commission heralded a new era for energy efficiency in Arizona, setting new targets utilities must achieve through demand side management programs to help customers save energy and money on their utility bills. The regulators included the policy as part of a broader clean energy rulemaking package that is set for final consideration on Thursday. The package could shape the state’s energy system for years to... More
 

Energy Efficiency Day 2020

SWEEP playing a leading role in achieving success in our states
Energy Efficiency Day 2020
October 7, 2020 is being commemorated as national Energy Efficiency Day, the fifth annual celebration of the importance of energy efficiency to our nation’s economy and environment. The reasons to celebrate Energy Efficiency Day are simple, clear, and powerful. Through energy efficiency we “Save Money. Cut Pollution. Create Jobs.” Opportunities for greater energy efficiency abound in our homes and workplaces, whether through purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances, using LED lighting, installing... More
 

Energy Efficiency and Equity

Energy Efficiency and Equity
Access to energy for heating, hot water, transportation, and other uses is a necessity of modern life. Nationally, low-income households, on average, devote 7.3% of their income to electricity, natural gas, and other fuels used at home, with some households paying far more. This represents a large percentage of income, a situation known as “energy burden.” In addition, throughout the west, transportation is the second largest expense for low-income households, behind only housing. The number ... More
 

The COVID-19 Crisis, Energy Use, Public Health, and Recovery Efforts

The COVID-19 Crisis, Energy Use, Public Health, and Recovery Efforts
The COVID-19 pandemic is having dramatic impacts on all aspects of our lives. This includes energy use as a result of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the virus. A recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that countries in full lockdown are experiencing an average 25 percent decline in energy demand while countries in partial lockdown are seeing an 18 percent decline on average. Electricity demand has been depressed by 20 percent or more... More
 

How Building Departments are Pivoting with the COVID-19 Crisis

While still supporting building code enforcement
How Building Departments are Pivoting with the COVID-19 Crisis
The Crisis Unfolds What a difference a few months can make for the construction industry. Just this last January the construction industry was operating at full speed, new residential and commercial buildings were popping up, sales of these new properties were strong, and the employment rate was at historic lows. As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, building departments and construction industry confront work-from-home challenges, social distancing and how many people can be in a building or... More
 
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