Ten Places to Watch in 2010
This year, BCAP is partnering with ten places throughout the US that are distinguishing themselves in the energy codes world. As the year advances, BCAP will track their progress, highlight their successes, encourage dialogue with interested outside organizations, and share their best practices and lessons learned with other places throughout the country looking to improve their energy code policies. Please click on a locality below to learn more.
Austin, TX is one of the fastest growing cities in America—and with good reason. The city offers something for everyone: the political fervor of a state capital, the laidback vibe of a college town, and the rapid pace of a booming business center. Although well-known as a progressive island in a staunchly conservative state, the city and its metro area strike a delicate political balance. Environmental issues often dominate local government, as the city’s success has feed urban and suburban growth, which some feel threaten the city’s core values. Nevertheless, Austin’s record of environmentalism and energy efficiency has earned it a spot on the short list of the country’s greenest cities.
Why We’re Watching: Commissioning, Residential Testing, Model Energy Code Adoption
With a low cost of living, ample job growth, and a warm climate, the state of Georgia—and especially its fast-growing capital, Atlanta—has emerged as one of the most desirable places to live in the U.S. Since 1960, runaway growth in Atlanta’s booming suburbs has more than tripled the population of the once sleepy southern capital from 1.5 to 5.5 million residents across the 13 county metropolitan area. This growth has strained the city’s resources, however. As the city continues to grow, careful management of the region’s water, transportation systems, and energy resources will be important if the city is to continue to maintain its self-described role as the economic capital of the New South.
Why We’re Watching: Model Energy Code Adoption, Training, Third Party Inspections
Idaho is a mountainous state known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. It is not surprising, then, that the sustainability movement has gained momentum over the past few years, as conservation is a value intrinsic to the state and its citizens. Idahoans are conscious of the environmental impact of their lifestyles and are taking steps to ensure that the state preserves its natural heritage. When combined with the clear economic benefits of energy efficiency, it is easy to see why Idaho is going green.
Why We’re Watching: Model Energy Code Adoption, Idaho Energy Code Collaborative, Statewide Implementation Strategies
Kansas, known to residents as the Sunflower State, boasts a population of 2.8 million and is located in the central United States. Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states in the nation, but its gently rolling mix of farmland, prairie, and forest is also home to well-known and livable cities, including Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka, and Lawrence. While the state was immortalized by the famous tornado in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, it was another, real-world twister that struck the town of Greensburg, Kansas in 2007 which has earned the state national attention in recent years. After a devastating tornado destroyed more than 95 percent of the town, Greensburg residents drew headlines when they made the decision to rebuild their small community – almost exclusively – with high-performance green buildings. The commitment to sustainable, energy efficient construction in Greensburg parallels work done at the state level in recent years where the State Energy Office is working through both voluntary programs and common-sense regulations to ensure Kansans enjoy more energy efficient homes and workplaces.
Why We’re Watching: Model Energy Code Adoption, Efficiency Kansas Revolving Loan Program, Community Grant Programs
Massachusetts has something for everyone: nation-leading energy efficiency plans; technical support and grants to support the 351 cities and towns committed to moving along the path of energy efficiency and renewable energy toward zero-net energy buildings; robust sustainability goals for state-owned properties, and so much more.
Why We’re Watching: International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2009 Training, Stretch Code, Green Community Grant Programs
With small country farmhouses and snow-covered woods, New Hampshire evokes the idyllic New England imagery of Robert Frost, a longtime resident. Yet behind this scenic backdrop lies a modern state that is working hard to be a model for energy efficiency and renewables. New Hampshire’s per capita energy consumption is already the fifth lowest in the country, according to the Energy Information Administration, behind tiny Rhode Island and efficiency heavyweights New York, California, and Massachusetts. A number of geographic and economic factors assist it in achieving this designation, such as its size, mild summer climate, and small industrial base, but the state would like to add high energy code compliance rates to that list.
Why We’re Watching: Model Energy Code Adoption, 90 Percent Compliance Roadmap
New York City is the largest city in the country and one of the world’s commercial, financial, cultural, and diplomatic centers. It also boasts an impressive skyline. By almost any measure, its impact on the world is undeniable. Increasingly, though, the city is choosing to evaluate its impact by two other measures: Btu and greenhouse gases.
Why We’re Watching: Greener, Greater Building Laws, Green Codes Task Force
A thriving city of 9,000 in Western Colorado’s Garfield County, Rifle encapsulates the old and new west. Named for a trapper’s misplaced firearm, the town center is a throwback to the old west, a collection of small brick buildings built by the ranches and mineral wealth of the surrounding arid plateaus and river valleys. To avoid going the way of other boom and bust towns, Rifle has made a commitment to developing a sustainable, diverse economy. Mainstays of the city’s past, like cattle ranching and oil and gas exploration, have been joined by new industries, including recreation and construction. Rifle also seeks to leverage its location at the heart of the fossil fuel industry to become a bridge to the clean energy economy of the future. This vision was demonstrated by the construction of the largest municipally-owned solar array in Colorado on the site of the Energy Innovation Center, a former brownfield site where uranium mill tailings were once stored. Among other sustainability efforts, Rifle is committed to improving the energy efficiency of new homes and commercial buildings through both partnerships with the building community and an upgraded energy code.
Why We’re Watching: Training, Model Energy Code Adoption, Municipal Outreach to the Building Community
Santa Fe, meaning “holy faith” in Spanish, became the capital of the New Mexico province in 1610 and is the fourth largest city in the state. With a population of 69,961, the city has a thriving mixture of Native American, Spanish, and modern American cultures and holds the nation’s second largest arts market with a $1.6 billion annual arts economy. The city also scores as the highest state capital in the United States.