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Study: Clean Power Plan Good for Business

Colorado commercial building owners and occupants could save over $170 million in utility bills if the EPA's Clean Power Plan is fully implemented. (Pixabay)
Colorado commercial building owners and occupants could save over $170 million in utility bills if the EPA's Clean Power Plan is fully implemented. (Pixabay)
August 4, 2016

DENVER – City skylines have long been a symbol of innovation and prosperity, but skyscrapers are also big sources of climate pollution.

According to a new study by the Georgia Institute of Technology, cities are positioned to lower CO2 emissions and utility bills for businesses if the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is implemented.

Marilyn Brown, the report's lead author, says the commercial sector is responsible for nearly one-third of all emissions from electricity.

"Most electricity is used to heat and cool and light buildings, and about half of that building's electricity goes to businesses, so it's a really important source for climate mitigation, CO2 emission reductions," she points out.

The study found if commercial building owners and occupants switched to more efficient and affordable air conditioning, lighting, improved building shells and rooftop solar, savings in the U.S. would top $11 billion by 2030, and over $170 million in Colorado alone.

Brown says one way cities can help is through energy benchmarking, which requires all buildings over 100,000 square feet to report their energy use.

Colorado currently benchmarks energy usage in all state buildings.

Brown says transparent energy consumption databases could put market forces to work in increasing efficiencies.

"And that means that if a tenant wants to consider what the real cost of occupying a space in that building might be, they'd have some good sense of how efficient the office complex is," she explains.

In August of last year, the EPA released its final Clean Power Plan, to regulate carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time.

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court put the plan on hold due to legal challenges.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has committed to implementing the plan.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO