Landmark Policy Reduced Energy Use by Equivalent of 100,000 Homes

Media Contacts

Reduces Natural Gas, Water Usage and Air Pollution Too

CoPIRG Foundation

Denver – On the 5 year anniversary of the passage of Colorado’s landmark energy efficiency policy, CoPIRG Foundation joined other energy efficiency advocates to celebrate the result – 800 million KWh in savings for Colorado individuals and businesses, equivalent to 100,000 typical homes.

“Energy efficiency provides so many benefits for Coloradans and the last 5 years has exceeded the original goals and expectations,” said Danny Katz, Director of CoPIRG Foundation. “Whether it’s saving people and businesses money, reducing air pollution, reducing our reliance on natural gas, conserving our limited water resources or creating jobs, this policy was truly an “all of the above” policy.”

The landmark energy efficiency policy, HB07-1037, passed the General Assembly in 2007 and directed the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to develop energy efficiency goals and incentives for the state’s investor-owned utilities, Xcel Energy Inc. and Black Hills Energy Corporation.  Since then, these utilities have developed robust energy savings programs that thousands of Colorado customers and businesses have taken advantage of resulting in the following:

  • Households and businesses are expected to save about $640 million net as a result of Xcel’s and Black Hill’s electric efficiency programs in 2009-2011, an overall benefit-cost ratio of more than three-to-one
  • Households and businesses reduced their electricity use in 2011 by over 800 million kWh per year, equivalent to the electricity use of 100,000 typical households.
  • Xcel Energy and Black Hills avoided over one million tons of carbon dioxide emissions during 2009-2011 as a result of their energy efficiency programs, the equivalent to taking 110,000 cars off the road.
  • Energy efficiency programs reduced water consumption by around 1.5 billion gallons in 2011, equivalent to the water use of 11,500 typical households in the metro Denver area.
  • Households and businesses cut their natural gas use by about 1.4 billion cubic feet in 2011, equivalent to the natural gas use of 25,000 typical households.

“The impacts of our energy efficiency program not only has strong economic benefits but also has a positive impact on our environment. This is another reason it is important we expand our energy efficiency program to the rest of the state,” said Jeanne Bassett, Senior Associate with Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center.

 At the event, one of the original sponsors of the policy, Representative Claire Levy, received an enlarged Thank You Card from the coalition of energy efficiency advocates including CoPIRG Foundation, Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. Levy and Former State Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald were the architects of this important policy.

 “House Bill 1037 has fostered an explosion of energy efficiency renovations that have reduced demand for heat and power beyond what I hoped to achieve,” said Representative Levy. “We aren’t finished fostering energy efficiency work.  There is still a lot of wasted energy and money to be saved. But House Bill 1037 has shown what can be accomplished if we create the right rewards.”

The event was held at 1515 Restaurant, a downtown Denver business that has taken advantage of Xcel’s energy savings programs. Owner Gene Tang, replaced his furnace and upgraded his air conditioning system at an expense of about $3,000. However, the measures will result in nearly $1,500 in savings per year and he will see his investment paid off in two years. Thousands of Colorado businesses and homeowners have stories similar to Gene’s.

“This is a big step forward. But we know, this policy only covers two of Colorado’s 50+ utilities,” said Katz. “That means nearly one million electricity customers could be missing out. We need a statewide standard that sets a minimum for utility energy savings programs. It’s clearly good for customers’ pocketbooks and for the health of our economy and state.”