The City of Fort Collins has been named one of 10 participating cities in the City Energy Project, a national network of communities that are sharing best practices and providing concrete tools to help commercial buildings cut their energy use.
The City Energy Project, a joint initiative of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, aims to create healthier, more prosperous communities by improving energy efficiency of large buildings. The project began with 10 cities, including Denver, in 2014.
This year, in addition to Fort Collins, the project added Des Moines, Iowa; Miami-Dade County; New Orleans; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; Reno, Nev.; San Jose, Calif.; St. Louis; and St. Paul, Minn.
The project is expected to save Fort Collins residents and businesses as much as $11 million annually on their energy bills by 2030. For more information on the City Energy Project, go to http://www.cityenergyproject.org/.
“In aiming to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Fort Collins has set some of the most aspirational goals in the nation,” said City Manager Darin Atteberry. “We must reduce energy consumption in our buildings to achieve our goals, and we are proud to partner with City Energy Project to access the technical expertise of both the project’s lead organizations and other communities to make that happen.”
Fort Collins is pulling a team of staff members and local partners together to develop a detailed plan for the program, said Tony Raeker, Green Built Environment Program Coordinator for the City.
“We are honored and excited to be part of the City Energy Project,” Raeker said. “We want to help the commercial sector identify opportunities to improve their energy performance, but first, we need to help businesses better understand their building’s energy use, performance and valuation.”
Buildings are the largest single source of carbon emissions. In Fort Collins, buildings consume 84 percent of the electricity use within the community. With funding and expertise provided by the City Energy Project, the City will:
Connect businesses with existing City programs;
Explore a new program to help building owners and operators determine their energy usage and how to benchmark it over time;
Identify private sector financing to increase capital available for energy efficiency improvements; and
Conduct an educational and outreach campaign to illustrate the benefits of energy efficiency.
The grant to the City of Fort Collins is $100,000 in direct funding for a City Energy Project Advisor, plus an estimated $380,000 in additional support from the program partners through 2017-2018. City Council on Tuesday approved a matching budget of $100,000.
According to the program partners, cities in the project are bringing new financing models to building owners and investors, making more than $1 billion in private sector financing available for energy efficiency improvements. By 2030, the 20 participating cities combined have the potential to save annually more than $1.5 billion in energy bills annually and reduce carbon pollution by more than 9.6 million metric tons, equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road for a year.