Fort Collins: Climate Action Plan Approved

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution adopting the 2015 Climate Action Plan (CAP), which will increase the City’s goals for reducing greenhouse emissions in the coming years with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. The framework for the CAP calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions communitywide by 20 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2020, and by 80 percent by 2030.

The Council directed the City Manager to develop an implementation plan for reaching the City’s goals. Although Council members supported the plan unanimously, some also cautioned many details of the plan — what it will cost and how it will work —have yet to be determined.

Regardless of the cost there is little doubt that residential and commercial buildings will be impacted by the new goals. The 2015 Climate Action Plan Framework notes that, “The building sector is the Fort Collins community’s top energy consumer and its number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions… efficiency alone will not enable Fort Collins to reach an 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, efficiency and conservation measures are typically the most cost-effective approach to reduce emissions and represent the best place to start and/or expand programs. “

For new construction the Framework suggests the City continue to adopt the latest energy codes with local refinements that would require stricter standards plus incentives for builders who go above and beyond the code. For existing homes, the City will improve its programs and funding to meet customer demand for new energy saving services. It is possible that efficiency ratings requirements for homes for sale or rent could also be considered.

Lucinda Smith, the City’s Environmental Sustainability Director, estimates the implementation of the CAP could cost $600 million by 2020, although savings to the community, such as lower energy bills, could total about $300 million during the same time.

Note: The Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® took a position to support the Plan, saying it “supports the current robust Climate Action Plan standards until additional details & specifics, including costs, can be made available to the citizens group, community entities, & partner communities with regard to the Climate Action Plan goals & framework. Additionally, FCBR believes that the focus of the Climate Action Planning efforts should be placed on detailed implementation strategies that balance housing, economic, cultural, & environmental needs.”

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