House Passes Bill to Lower Energy Costs, Create Jobs

Bipartisan benchmarking proposal would improve energy efficiency of buildings 

DENVER, CO– The House today passed legislation by a vote of 41-23 to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, which will lower energy costs and create jobs for workers skilled in energy efficiency retrofits. 

“By passing benchmarking policies like this, we can save consumers and businesses money on their energy bills and reduce energy consumption,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins. “This bill asks owners of the largest buildings to report on their energy use and then meet new energy efficiency standards that will save their tenant’s money and reduce energy use. It will help us meet our climate goals while saving Coloradans money at the same time.”

“We have to make addressing climate change a top priority, and by reducing how much energy commercial buildings use, we can save consumers money and reduce the emissions that are hurting our environment,” said Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. “Benchmarking is an innovative way to encourage more energy efficient buildings and create good jobs for workers skilled in energy efficiency retrofits and mechanical system upgrades.”

HB21-1286, which is sponsored by Representatives Cathy Kipp and Alex Valdez, would require the owners of certain large commercial buildings to collect and report energy use to the Colorado Energy Office, and by 2026, to demonstrate that they have met new energy efficiency performance standards. The proposal, known as benchmarking, asks building owners to measure their energy use in the first year and then continue to monitor and report their performance and meet new energy efficiency standards. The proposal helps tenets and businesses save money on their energy costs while creating jobs for workers skilled in energy efficiency retrofits, mechanical system upgrades, electrical work, engineering, and recommissioning. 

In the next eight years, the bill is expected to save consumers $447 million on their energy bills, 3,200 gigawatt-hours of electricity, 7,700 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and reduce CO2 emissions by 1 million metric tons. More than one-third of Colorado buildings are already benchmarking, demonstrating that this policy is both widely popular and achievable. Large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings account for roughly 15 percent of all energy used in Colorado, which means that there is considerable opportunity to reduce electricity used by increasing the energy efficiency of these buildings. 

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