CO to help develop efficiency plans for existing buildings

Buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the economy and account for most of the nation’s electricity use. To help states develop strategies to improve energy efficiency of existing buildings and reduce costs and emissions, Colorado and five other states have been chosen to participate in a National Governors Association Center for Best Practices policy academy.

Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin have been selected to participate in the Policy Academy on State Building Efficiency Retrofit Programs.

"Colorado’s New Energy Economy is leading the nation to a new energy future, and energy efficiency is a key part of our strategy," Gov. Ritter said. "Energy efficiency creates jobs, saves money and reduces the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. By taking part in this policy academy, we can share best practices, learn from other states and continue to lead America toward a cleaner and more efficient future."

The Policy Academy will help participating states develop and refine a number of policy options including: innovative funding and financing mechanisms; building energy use benchmarking tools; targeted education and outreach measures; and workforce training programs. These measures will be used to help states design larger-scale building retrofit programs that will lead to lower energy use, the creation of new jobs and new career opportunities and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Most energy efficiency efforts have focused on new construction or the low-income sector only, often ignoring the substantial energy savings available by retrofitting existing buildings," said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. "This Policy Academy will help states realize energy savings across the board, through comprehensive building retrofits programs."

Building retrofit programs may include measures like air sealing; insulation; upgrading or replacing heating or hot water systems; lighting upgrades; window replacement; appliance replacement with ENERGY STAR products; solar thermal hot water; and energy management system installation.

A Policy Academy is a highly interactive team-based process for helping a select number of states develop and implement an action plan to address a complex public policy issue. Participating states receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA Center staff and faculty experts and consultants from the private sector, research organizations, academia and the federal government.

The Policy Academy is being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which has responsibility for $11 billion in funding under the Recovery Act to retrofit and weatherize buildings, along with additional funding to deploy other efficiency and renewable technologies.