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City Receives $1.7 Million to Continue Helping Families Make Sustainability Upgrades

The City Council approved the measure sponsored by Albuquerque District 7 City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn, providing $100k a year for the project since its beginning, giving assistance and technical help for limited-income New Mexicans who experience high energy burden in their households.
May 08, 2024

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ALBUQUERQUE – The City of Albuquerque’s Community Energy Efficiency (CEE) project has been awarded $1.7 million from The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to expand its energy efficiency improvement and retrofit work in our frontline communities. Through CEE, income-qualified homeowners in Albuquerque receive free energy audits and retrofit plans to create significant energy savings and increase safety and comfort for homeowners.

Data has shown that low-income residents have disproportionately high utility bills compared to other city residents -- spending as high as 10 percent or more of their household incomes on utility bills. This is often due to the inefficiency of older homes and appliances, and the costs associated with repairs and updates. Based on previous surveys of low-income homeowners, these residents have frequently faced the difficult choice between covering medical costs, food, or their monthly energy bill.

"Our frontline communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We are investing in programs like this one that help make our home a more climate resilient and equitable place for our families now, and for the future families of Albuquerque.”

The new funds are expected to aid over 60 residents in Albuquerque over the next two years. In partnership with Prosperity Works and Energy Works, community liaisons assist homeowners throughout the process, and the range of home upgrades can include window and door replacements, insulation and heating, and cooling system replacements.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to scale what the Environmental Protection Agency has celebrated as being a national best practice to serve the most in need and hardest to reach with critical energy efficiency measures,” said Ona Porter of Prosperity Works. “Reducing toxic emissions and household costs while improving the health, safety and comfort of our most vulnerable residents is the intention of this important investment.”

This program builds on the City’s existing CEE projects that began in 2021 through partner support and $100,000 City Council appropriation. To date the program has made improvements in 104 homes in the International District, saving residents an average of $300 per year on utility costs annually.

This project builds on the Keller administration’s substantial work to date on sustainability, including:
• Ranked 12th largest municipal green power user on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Top 30 Local Government List,
• Ranked top 4 large city in the U.S. for most installed solar per capita by Environment America’s Shining Cities report,
• Achieved LEED for Cities Silver certification,
• Launched a city-wide food scrap diversion pilot project,
• Developed the 2021 Albuquerque Climate Action Plan,
• Secured a $2.7 million federal grant to bring the first electric buses to Albuquerque,
• Signed the Paris Agreement committing to climate action,
• Installed solar projects at 38 city-owned buildings,
• Expanded the City’s publicly accessible electric vehicle charging station network by adding 18 new stations,
• Launched the Mayor’s Energy Challenge,
• Won Bloomberg American Cities climate challenge with funding for sustainability efforts,
• Made the transition to more sustainable LED street lights citywide,
• Provided over 200 homes with free energy audits and upgrades in partnership with PNM and Prosperity Works,
• Invested $600,000 in VW settlement funding to expand electric vehicle infrastructure,
• Introduced five new electric buses into the transit fleet and secured funding for 20 additional electric buses,
• Established a permanent Zero Fares program for all ABQ RIDE services,
• Launched the Affordable Mobility Project, piloting a carshare program with two electric vehicles prioritized for low-income drivers,
• Partnered with PNM to launch the Solar Direct project to achieve 80% renewable energy usage by 2024, and
• Purchased the first electric vehicles (EVs) for the City fleet, and committed the City to replacing gas-powered vehicles with electric vehicles wherever possible.