Places We Watched in 2010 > Places We Watched in 2010

In 2010, BCAP partnered with places throughout the country that were distinguishing themselves in the energy codes world. The goal of this campaign was to identify areas that were demonstrating a real commitment to promoting energy efficient buildings and highlight their work in adoption, compliance training or enforcement programs, above-code innovations, and other areas.

Austin, TX

In 2010, Austin, TX was one of the fastest growing cities in America – and with good reason. The city offered something for everyone: the political fervor of a state capital, the laid-back vibe of a college town, and the rapid pace of a booming business center. Although well-known as a progressive island in a staunchly conservative state, the city and its metro area struck a delicate political balance. Environmental issues often dominated local government as the city’s success fed urban and suburban growth; some felt that this threatened the city’s core values. Nevertheless, Austin’s record of environmentalism and energy efficiency earned it a spot on the short list of the country’s greenest cities.

Why We Watched:
Commissioning, Residential Testing, Model Energy Code Adoption

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Georgia

With a low cost of living, ample job growth, and a warm climate, the state of Georgia – and especially its fast-growing capital – had emerged by 2010 as one of the most desirable places to live in the U.S. Since 1960, runaway growth in Atlanta’s booming suburbs had more than tripled the population of the once sleepy southern capital from 1.5 to 5.5 million residents spread across the 13-county metropolitan area. However, this growth strained the city’s resources. As the city grew, careful management of the region’s water, transportation systems, and energy resources were important if the city was to continue to maintain its self-described role as the economic capital of the New South.

Why We Watched:
Model Energy Code Adoption, Green Building Code Task Force, Recovery Act Funds

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Idaho

Idaho is a mountainous state known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. It is not surprising, then, that the sustainability movement gained momentum during the noughies, as conservation is a value intrinsic to the state and its citizens. Idahoans were conscious of the environmental impact of their lifestyles and took steps to ensure that the state preserved its natural heritage. When combined with the clear economic benefits of energy efficiency, it is easy to see why Idaho went green.

Why We Watched:
Model Energy Code Adoption, Idaho Energy Code Collaborative, Statewide Implementation Strategies

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Kansas

Kansas, a landlocked state known to residents as the Sunflower State, boasted a population of 2.8 million. Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states in the nation, but its gently rolling mix of farmland, prairie, and forest is also home to well-known and livable cities, including Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka, and Lawrence.

While the state was immortalized by the famous tornado in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, it was another, real-world twister that struck the town of Greensburg, Kansas in 2007 and earned the state national attention. After the devastating tornado destroyed more than 95 percent of the town, Greensburg residents drew headlines when they made the decision to rebuild their small community almost exclusively with high-performance green buildings. The commitment to sustainable, energy efficient new construction in Greensburg paralleled work done at the state level during the same time period, when the State Energy Office worked through both voluntary programs and common-sense regulations to ensure Kansans enjoyed more energy efficient homes and workplaces.

Why We Watched:
Model Energy Code Adoption, Efficiency Kansas Revolving Loan Program, Community Grant Programs

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts had something for everyone: nation-leading energy efficiency plans; technical support and grants to support the 351 cities and towns committed to moving along the path of energy efficiency and renewable energy toward zero-net energy buildings; robust sustainability goals for state-owned properties; and so much more.

Why We Watched:
Stretch Code, Green Community Grant Programs

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New Hampshire

With small country farmhouses and snow-covered woods, New Hampshire evoked the idyllic New England imagery of Robert Frost, a longtime resident. Yet behind this scenic backdrop lay a modern state that worked hard to be a model for energy efficiency and renewables. New Hampshire’s per capita energy consumption was already the fifth lowest in the country, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), behind tiny Rhode Island and efficiency heavyweights New York, California, and Massachusetts. A number of geographic and economic factors – such as its size, mild summer climate, and small industrial base – assisted it in achieving this designation, but the state was striving to add high energy code compliance rates to that list.

Why We Watched:
Model Energy Code Adoption, 90 Percent Compliance Roadmap

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New York City

New York City was and still is the largest city in the country; it also maintains its status as one of the world’s commercial, financial, cultural, and diplomatic centers. It also boasted an impressive skyline. By almost any measure, its impact on the world was undeniable. Increasingly, though, the city chose to evaluate its impact by two other measures: BTU and greenhouse gases.

Why We Watched:
Greener, Greater Building Laws, Green Codes Task Force

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Rifle, Colorado

A thriving city of 9,000 in Western Colorado’s Garfield County, Rifle encapsulated both the old and new west. Named for a trapper’s misplaced firearm, the town center was a throwback to the old west, a collection of small brick buildings built by the ranches and mineral wealth of the surrounding arid plateaus and river valleys.

To avoid going the way of other boom and bust towns, Rifle made a commitment to developing a sustainable, diverse economy. Mainstays of the city’s past, like cattle ranching and oil and gas exploration, were joined by new industries, including recreation and construction. Rifle also sought to leverage its location at the heart of the fossil fuel industry to become a bridge to the clean energy economy of the future. This vision was demonstrated by the construction of the largest municipally-owned solar array in Colorado on the site of the Energy Innovation Center, a former brownfield site where uranium mill tailings were once stored. Among other sustainability efforts, Rifle was committed to improving the energy efficiency of new homes and commercial buildings through both partnerships with the building community and an upgraded energy code.

Why We Watched:
Training, Model Energy Code Adoption, Municipal Outreach to the Building Community

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, meaning “holy faith” in Spanish, became the capital of the New Mexico province in 1610 and was the fourth largest city in the state by 2010. With a population of 69,961, the city had a thriving mixture of Native American, Spanish, and modern American cultures and held the nation’s second largest arts market with a $1.6 billion annual arts economy. The city also scored as the highest state capital in the United States at around 7,000 feet above sea level.

Why We Watched:
Residential Green Building Code, City Wide Sustainability Plan, Water Conservation

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This page was last modified on: August 17, 2016