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Albuquerque Receives Top Marks for Sustainability Performance

ACEEE score highlights City’s progress in key sustainability and equity projects

The City of Albuquerque has been ranked 31st out of 100 large U.S. cities by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) on the 2021 City Clean Energy Scorecard. This latest ranking is up from 40th in 2020 and shows Albuquerque has jumped up 22 spots since 2019.

ACEEE’s City Clean Energy Scorecard is the most comprehensive national measuring stick for climate progress and a roadmap for future improvements. The scorecard analyzes the efforts of 100 major U.S. cities to make buildings and transportation more energy efficient and scale up the use of renewable energy. ACEEE’s Scorecard results capture the progress of Albuquerque’s policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also focusing on equity.

“When we developed the 2021 Climate Action Plan, embedding social equity and the experiences of our frontline communities into our planning efforts was our top priority,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “These scorecard results prove how our City is taking strong sustainability action on all fronts.”

Albuquerque’s ranking on ACEEE’s City Clean Energy Scorecard continues to move up year after year. Contributing to this year’s score increase are the City’s continued improvements in climate planning, increasing energy efficiency throughout the public and private sector, as well as transitioning to low and zero emissions transportation options. The Scorecard also finds that Albuquerque has expanded its adoption of clean energy to reduce its overall carbon footprint.

“We know transportation and building energy use can be some of the top contributors to our emissions,” said Sustainability Officer Kelsey Rader. “Throughout the first term of the Keller Administration, we have made great headway both in reducing these emissions while supporting vulnerable communities and small businesses. With programs like our Community Energy Efficiency Project, Vision Zero and the Mayor’s Energy Challenge, everyone can directly benefit from sustainability.”

Some of Albuquerque’s highest points in the latest scorecard stemmed from efforts to reduce emissions through energy efficiency. The City’s Energy and Sustainability Management Division had a strong performance by benchmarking public buildings, having a comprehensive retrofit strategy, and having dedicated funding for these goals.

“Improving our public infrastructure to reduce energy use and expand renewable energy adoption is a key part of our climate strategy,” said Energy and Sustainability Manager Saif Ismail. “Projects such as building energy efficiency upgrades, smart building initiatives, microgrids, battery storage projects and expanding the City’s EV charging network remain at the forefront of our energy and sustainability mission.”

The ranking builds on the Keller administration’s substantial work to date on sustainability, including:

  • Named the number 3 large city in the country for most solar installed per capita by Environment America,
  • Won a $2.7 million federal grant to bring the first electric buses to Albuquerque,
  • Signed the Paris Agreement committing to climate action,
  • Installed 38 solar projects at city-owned buildings,
  • Launched the Green Team to expand sustainability across departments,
  • Launched the Mayor’s Energy Challenge to support local businesses reduce energy use,
  • Won the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge with funding for sustainability efforts,
  • Adopted more sustainable LED street lights citywide,
  • Provided over 200 homes with free energy audits and upgrades in partnership with PNM, Partnership for Community Action and Prosperity Works,
  • Partnered with PNM to launch the Solar Direct project to achieve over 80% renewable energy use,
  • Purchased the first electric vehicles for the City fleet, and enacted a “Zero Emissions First” fleet vehicle adoption policy,
  • Achieved LEED for Cities Silver certification,
  • Invested $300,000 in VW settlement funding to add 18 electric charging stations in Albuquerque by Summer 2021, and
  • Launched the 2021 Climate Action Plan.