NM fell farther than any other state in energy efficiency in 2014

Revoking of energy-saving building codes cited as likely cause of lack of progress

For immediate release: Oct. 22, 2015
Contact: Camilla Feibelman: 505-715-8388, camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org
Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, 2215 Lead Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106, 505-243-7767

A new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says New Mexico dropped farther than any other state in its annual state rankings.

“New Mexico dropped the farthest in 2015, losing four points and falling six positions from 25th to 31st in the rankings. This is due in part to the state’s failure to adopt energy building codes beyond the 2009 requirements,” the report said.

“Energy efficiency is the most affordable to way to address carbon pollution. Energy-saving building codes save consumers money and protect the climate. They are a win-win. Now is the time for New Mexico to revisit money-saving codes that were revoked in 2011,” said Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director.

New Mexico’s Construction Industries Commission adopted money-saving efficient building codes statewide in 2010. But after Gov. Susana Martinez was elected, she appointed all new commissioners who immediately voted, without discussion, to revoke the efficient codes. Their decision was overturned by the state Supreme Court because the commission gave no reason for the change. The Construction Industries Division announced it would ignore the Supreme Court’s decision, and then the commission redid the vote, despite an overwhelming majority of comments to the commission supporting the codes.

The city of Albuquerque also adopted efficient building codes, but in 2011 the city council revoked those codes as well.

Higher efficiency standards in construction have repeatedly been shown to lower costs overall for owners of buildings and homes.

“It’s sad to see New Mexico falling so far behind all other states in the region. We need to update building codes, improve our utility energy-efficiency programs and create programs and incentives for more efficient transportation. Without these improvements, we will continue to fall behind our neighboring states, and our citizens will continue to pay the price of higher energy costs and more pollution,” said Tammy Fiebelkorn, President of eSolved, a local consulting firm that works primarily on energy-efficiency projects and was the company hired by the state to provide training on energy-conservation building codes under Gov. Richardson.

The Rio Grande Chapter has been advocating for legislation that would make electric vehicles more affordable through tax credits for EV purchases and infrastructure in New Mexico — such legislation would also raise our state’s efficiency score. The bill has advanced farther in the Legislature each year, and the chapter plans continued support.

“New Mexico has been stagnant on energy efficiency for several years now, while other states are moving forward. Increasing efficiency is just smart policy. It’s time for New Mexico to move forward, too,” Feibelman said.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a national group that advocates for the advancement of energy-efficiency technologies and policies. The scorecard and details from the report can be viewed at http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard.

The State Scorecard assesses state policies and programs that improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industries, and transportation systems. It considers the six policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and public benefits, transportation, building energy codes and compliance, combined heat and power (CHP), state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency, and appliance and equipment standards.

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter represents more than 7,000 members in New Mexico and West Texas whose goal is to enjoy, explore and protect the planet.

NM fell farther than any other state in energy efficiency in 2014