from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Local energy-efficiency programs are working in New Mexico and across the nation, according to a new report, and Albuquerque is home to several examples.
Designing buildings with smart energy use in mind is beneficial to the economy as well as the environment, says developer Gary Goodman, chief executive officer of Goodman Realty.
"If somebody's not spending money on their gas or electric bill, they're spending it in goods and services in the cities they live in. When they do that, it churns the economy far more than spending that same money on a utility bill."
In 40 years as a developer, Goodman says, he's learned the value of energy efficiency over time. When his company renovated the Hotel Andaluz, he says, it installed a high-efficiency solar water heating system. Before the renovation, he says, the hotel used 1 million gallons of water a month. Since the remodel, he says, it uses about a third of that.
Among the features of the Andaluz, New Mexico's only LEED-certified hotel, is something Goodman calls "constant energy management."
"The act of somebody checking in automatically brings a room up to temperature. When somebody leaves the room, it goes back. When they return, it goes up again."
Another LEED-certified building is the Silver Gardens apartments in Albuquerque. Formerly a bus station, it is now a winner of a Smart Growth Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Developer Theresa Bell says it was designed to help lower residents' energy costs.
"It saves the tenants $25 to $50 a month; that's somebody's groceries or gas. It saves the owner thousands of dollars in common-area utilities expenses."
Both Bell and Goodman are developing new buildings they say will have even more innovative energy-saving systems. By focusing on energy efficiency, says Environment New Mexico, the state could reduce its emissions from power generation by almost a third by 2030.
The report, "Building a Better America," is online at environmentnewmexicocenter.org
Beth Blakeman reporting, email@example.com