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 just under 70,000, 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.
The City of Santa Fe was dedicated to becoming more energy efficient and utilizing renewable energy resources. The City adopted the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement in 2006, which set a goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Additionally, they instituted a Sustainable Santa Fe Plan. Under this, the city addressed several subjects, including: green house gas inventory and reduction, green building codes, renewable energy, water conservation, solid waste reduction, and education.
Santa Fe in 2010
Energy Code in 2010: 2006 New Mexico Energy Conservation Code
In 2010, Santa Fe had several sustainability measures underway, including a Residential Green Building Code and a Water Conservation Program. The latter administered water conservation credits created through conservation contracts or retrofit rebates at existing developed property within the city’s water service. Credits were used to offset new system demands of small development projects.
Since its purchase of the municipal water utility in 1995, water conservation has been a chief concern of the City Council, who have emphasized and effectively implemented a comprehensive and very aggressive water conservation and drought management program. The city joined forces with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 to become a WaterSense Partner, which is a partnership program that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs, and practices. In 2003, Santa Fe evaluated their water demand and found that their already strained supply would not meet current or projected demand. That same year, in an effort to lower peak demand, the city passed an ordinance stipulating that new demand must be offset by replacing old, high-flow toilets with low-flow toilets that have the capacity of 1.6 gallons or less. This was a very successful ordinance. After observing the resulting water savings, the City Council knew the toilet rebate program was only the beginning of Santa Fe’s water conservation initiatives. They later went on to create the Water Conservation Credit Program.
A continuing program of the Housing and Community Development since July 1, 2009 is the Residential Green Building Code, where all new applications for single-family residential buildings in the City of Santa Fe must complete the residential green building checklist and submit it to the Housing and Community Development Department before building permits are approved. The six section Residential Green Building Code was designed to be consistent with the State of New Mexico Green Building Code. The Housing and Community Development Department had codes underway for remodels and additions to existing single-family residences, commercial, and historic buildings.