The city of Boulder, Colorado, has created a suite of programs to improve the energy efficiency of households and businesses, while engaging residents in the design and implementation.

Boulder’s “Smart Suite” of energy efficiency programs integrates requirements, energy services, and financing to spur investment in energy efficiency. The coordinated program interventions include SmartRegs, which mandates energy efficiency requirements for rental housing. Another key program is EnergySmart, a community-designed energy advisor program that provides assessments and helps customers interpret results. Additional programs include a tax on electricity use to fund efficiency efforts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and leading-edge building codes for new construction and remodels.

SmartRegs was developed in collaboration with property owners, management companies, tenant representatives, and energy experts. The program requires attic and ceiling insulation, air-sealing, and furnace replacements to Boulder’s rental units. By 2019, the city aims to achieve 100% compliance in residential energy efficiency requirements through the program. Equally impressive, the advisor program, EnergySmart, has already served more than 12,000 households and more than 3,000 businesses, while the full suite of programs has leveraged over $18 million in private investment.

50,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided

The challenge

Boulder has long been an American front-runner in environmental thinking and green energy promotion. This program builds on years of experience and strong community support in an effort to help Boulder achieve its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.


Economic Investments in residential and commercial buildings via the energy advisor programs save more than $1.7 million a year based on current utility rates.

Environmental Smart Suite programs have helped Boulder reduce electricity demand by more than 13 million kWh a year, meaning less pollution from the city’s coal-powered plants and improved air quality.

Social Under the program, 1,650 affordable housing units are now compliant with efficiency requirements, which lowers monthly housing costs for the city’s lowest income households.

About Boulder

Boulder is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Boulder County. Boulder is famous for its colorful Western history, being a choice destination for hippies in the late 1960s, and as home of the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state’s largest university. Furthermore, the city of Boulder frequently receives high rankings in art, health, well-being, quality of life, and education.

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