Energy Efficiency Progress

In most communities, the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is produced from energy consumption in buildings in the form of electricity and natural gas usage. This data point presents significant opportunities to find meaningful of reducing GHG emissions equitably across the entire community. The Town of Erie’s Sustainability Plan outlines four sub-topics with associated targets and goals toward energy efficiency: Graph of energy use in Erie

  1. Codes and Policies
  2. Building Energy Use
  3. Energy Empowerment & Innovation
  4. Municipal Leadership

Xcel Energy, United Power, and Black Hills Energy provide electricity and natural gas to Erie residents and businesses. In 2017, Erie participated in the Xcel Partners in Energy program, which resulted in the creation of Erie’s Energy Action Plan. This Plan created a new vision of energy use through building community awareness, building partnerships, and investing in energy innovation. Erie achieved all the goals outlined in the Energy Action Plan in 2020!

Because this program was so successful, Erie is participating in a second round of the Partners in Energy program – this time with even more ambitious energy-reduction goals. There are synergies between the Sustainability Plan and the 2021 Energy Action Plan. Specifically, strategies E8 and E11 work toward increased energy efficiency in buildings. Strategy 12 addresses energy empowerment and innovation.

Tracking Progress

The table below displays each strategy in the energy section of the Sustainability Plan and the progress made since November 2019.

Sustainability Plan Energy Efficiency Progress

Strategy Progress
E1. Adopt the most recent International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) every three years, starting with the 2015 IECC in 2020. Achieved
E2. Ensure ongoing education for planners, plan reviewers, building inspectors, developers, and builders on updates to building and energy codes, available design and green building resources, and enforcement mechanisms and incentives.  On Track
E3. Incentivize and educate on renewable energy (e.g., solar-ready homes) for new construction.  On Track
E4. Adopt an ‘above’ building code with incentives for increasing energy efficiency above and beyond standard code requirements. On Track
E5. Explore incentivizing building energy benchmarking and reporting on green building certification for all commercial properties and residential properties over a certain size threshold.  Needs more development
E6. Explore requiring or incentivizing reporting on energy efficiency in owner-occupied housing to meet a certain threshold at the time-of-sale.  Needs more development
E7. Educate on and incentivize dark sky compliant and/or LED outdoor light fixtures.  Stagnant
E8. Promote existing energy efficiency programs for commercial and residential users.  Achieved
E9. Encourage building owners to utilize water-conserving landscaping practices and implement other measures that will reduce water use and align with the goals of Erie's Water Conservation Master Plan.  Achieved
E10. Promote existing weatherization services and solar incentives to qualifying low- and moderate-income residents by working with partners, and work to fill gaps in resources.  Achieved
E11. Educate on and incentivize commercial building retro-commissioning.  Needs more development
E12. Identify creative and innovative opportunities to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and programs in commercial and residential sectors and consider other innovative technologies, as they become available, for reducing energy use and increasing the amount of renewable energy powering the community.  On Track
E13. Develop ongoing Town-supported renewable energy projects that benefit the whole community (e.g., community solar, etc.).  Needs more development
E14. Identify equitable programs to market and incentivize solar through cost savings and communication campaigns (e.g., bulk purchase programs, etc.).  On Track
E15. Supply municipal buildings with 100% renewable electricity (both through on-site installations and procurement decisions).  Need more development
E16. Perform energy assessments on all existing municipal buildings and, when feasible, implement assessment recommendations for energy efficiency soon after.  On Track
E17. Implement benchmarking for municipal buildings.  On Track
E18. Require that all new government buildings and major renovations be EnergyStar certified.  Needs more development

How do we to achieve these strategies and targets?  

Use the 2022 Energy Action Plan to help realize some of the goals below.

  • Source 25% of commercial electricity use from renewable resources by 2025.
  • Source 20% of residential electricity use from renewable resources by 2025.
  • Reduce both average household electricity use and natural gas use by 3% by 2025.
  • Connect 10 additional HOAs and 50 businesses with information about potential energy actions and the Green Business and HOA program.
  • Certify four additional HOAs and 10 additional businesses through Erie’s Green Business and HOA program.

Supporting Projects

Activities Underway

  • LED Streetlight Conversion
  • Energy Performance Contracting for Facilities Upgrades
  • Police Building Light Upgrades
  • Hydropower turbine installation

Activities on the Horizon

  • Fleet Electrification
  • Solar Demonstration/Community Solar Project
  • Utility-scale solar to power 100% of the Town's Waste Water Treatment Plant

The Town has two new electric vehicle charging stations in the Town Hall parking lot open 24/7. This is adding to the planned grid in Erie which already includes other stations at the Erie Community Center and other area in Town. Download the ChargePoint app to use the charging stations.

Erie is also a partner with EnergySmart. Find out more about EnergySmart rebates which can help offset the costs of increasing the energy efficiency in your home - sometimes for no cost to you!

The Town of Erie staff has been directed to investigate utility scale solar, which could power town facilities and businesses with solar energy. Updates to these projects and opportunities to engage in the process are available on EngageErie.

Sustainability Advisory Board Happenings:  

Last updated July 2022