Make Boulder Walk the Talk on Energy Policy—Tonight. (We’ll be there)

Via on May 18, 2010

If you’ve been in Boulder for a little while (and even if you haven’t), you’ve probably heard about how our little city sets the example when it comes to environmental and energy policies. Many point to the fact that Boulder was the first city in the US to pass a Carbon Tax. Pretty cool, huh?

Another example is that even when our country wasn’t willing to sign the international Kyoto Protocol for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the little-city-that-could of Boulder stood up for our future and pledged, as a city, to meet Kyoto standards. Even cooler, huh?

But wait. There’s something wrong with that last example. Boulder is in no way on track to meet Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Boulder’s energy usage is significantly higher, per capita, than the average. It turns out Boulder isn’t such a great example on everything green, after all.

When most people in Boulder hear that, they think “Well, let’s do something about that, eh?” But, here’s the problem: About 57% of the homes in Boulder are rental units. These units are some of the most energy inefficient properties you could think of and they cause our city-wide energy usage to skyrocket. They rarely get upgraded and stay horribly inefficient because there’s no incentive for the owner to make improvements since they don’t pay the energy bills.

And before you start blaming it all on spoiled, careless students, remember that over two-thirds of these units are NOT rented by students.

Tonight, Boulder City Council will finally hear a policy that would address this problem and put us back on track to meet our Kyoto Protocol standards.  The policy, SmartRegs, will create basic minimum standards for energy efficiency in rental units, such as sealing gaps in windows, installing programmable thermostats, low-flow shower heads and insulation.

If passed, Boulder would be the first city in the country to address the split-incentive of energy usage in rental units. This policy has been carefully studied and developed for a while now and it will be phased in over a number of years. There will even be protections and programs put in place to financially assist landlords in meeting the minimum standards.

If you live in Boulder, click here to edit and send a pre-written letter to City Council members before tonight’s hearing and vote. Even better, join us at the City Council chambers at 8pm tonight to show your support. You can make a statement during public hearing or just join the crowd as a supporter.

We need your help to get this passed. The landlord’s association and the major property managers like Four Star Realty have come out against the policy and pledged to do everything they can to defeat it. Let’s show them that regular citizens can one up them tonight.

Boulder’s City Council Meeting
May 18th, 8 p.m
City Council Chambers
1777 Broadway

Click here to send a quick pre-written letter in support of SmartRegs to City Council

About News

Andrew Whitehead is a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. He grew up in the grand country of Ireland, which is probably where he began to develop his exquisite beer palate. After moving to Wayne, Pennsylvania, Andrew became seriously passionate about the environment and strives to spread his awareness with anyone willing to listen. In his free time he loves to play hockey and soccer as well as go hiking. All that know him well fear his obsession with goats will land him a staring role on the well-known American TV show “Hoarders”.

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7 Responses to “Make Boulder Walk the Talk on Energy Policy—Tonight. (We’ll be there)”

  1. Done! And I forwarded the autolink to some friends. See you tonight, psyched, let's get drink aft with all who come out.

  2. Leigh says:

    You need to get Boulderites out of the SUVS as well. I lived in Boulder for many years, left 10 years ago to live in Europe. What strikes me everytime I go back to visit is how very few bicycle commuters there are in Boulder. Sure, there are plenty of bikes…but I mean bicycle commuters. Spend the afternoon in Whole food or Ideal parking lot and see the constant stream of SUVs coming in and out to buy groceries….I like Boulder but people there prefer to talk the talk….then actually live with low carbon footprints.

  3. I love mainland Europe (am from Scotland) due to exactly what you said. South of France snowboarding a couple of years back and NONE of the shops served you blags. You had to take your own carriers – boxes or bags or just your own hands. I never saw large vehicles. Germany was slightly worse for vehicles.

    But Scotland, it's shameful. You see parent's driving their kids to local primary/secondary schools in these large people carriers and then using it for the rest of the day. One thing about Scotland is you don't live more than a couple of miles from your school. If you do it is because you moved, but the public transport network is fantastic…there is a bus every 10mins!!

    I wish they would ban these size of vehicles for anyone that doesn't need it to go off road!

  4. Greg says:

    Write Al Gore. Ask if he will consider selling his palatial Montecito CA mansion and donating the funds to Boulder for energy fix ups and retrofitting. That way he will get good publicity for his cause and he will demonstrate he really cares enough to make Boulder a model city.

  5. I wish they would ban those size of vehicles!! Too many parent's taking kids to school and not actually needing them for the rest of the day!

  6. [...] Boulder is voting this fall about whether to allow the city to consider buying the wires and poles of our electricity system as well as the right to purchase where that electricity comes from. [...]

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