Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Las Cruces City Council adopts new internal electrification standards

A newly adopted resolution sets new standards for the electrification of future urban development projects.

The Las Cruces City Council has unanimously passed a resolution to adopt favorable electrification standards for all new buildings owned or developed by the city. In part, this means that city building planners need to consider efficient electrical appliances and highly efficient mechanical systems.

Jenny Hernandez, urban sustainability specialist, says the resolution is the first step towards fully electric development.

“The real component of the resolution is that all new buildings owned or developed by the city are designed using a holistic approach,” said Hernandez. “It just means that when we design the building we make sure we keep the building’s orientation in mind, make sure we are maximizing those things so that when we use renewable energy on them, we get the best benefit from them. “

Approximately 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the city of Las Cruces come from emissions from buildings. Outgoing councilor Gill Sorg says investing in electrical infrastructure will help pave the way for a more sustainable future.

“It is good for us to stop burning fossil fuels in our buildings,” said Sorg. “This is an important part of starting to reduce greenhouse gas production. The upfront cost is not much more expensive. I think we will find that in the future we will save a lot of money on maintenance and operation, the more expensive it is. ”

While the presentation did not include a cost-saving analysis, the city has until June 2022 before the decision officially goes into effect. Hernandez says the additional time will be needed to plan and monitor training efforts.

“The training is specifically for those in the construction industry,” said Hernandez. “We’ll walk them through policies, finances and anything useful to electrification and understand them and the technologies.”

This loophole worries Councilor Kasandra Gandara that there could be delays in implementing the new standards. She says upcoming construction projects should not be exempted from complying with the resolution.

“Some of the projects we have are multimillion dollar projects. And we should start now rather than wait, ”said Gandara. “I have the feeling that sometimes the council suggests things and then leaves some leeway and then we don’t move in the direction the council thinks is right.”

To keep abreast of the resolution’s progress and future efforts, Mayor Ken Miyagishima has requested a quarterly update on sustainability activities. Lisa LaRocque, the city’s sustainability officer, says these updates should help give city councils concrete details about future electrification efforts.

“I think what the mayor has just proposed for a quarterly update will give you a good sense of whether these resolutions we are putting forward are capable of achieving the goals we have set,” said LaRocque.

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