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June 2024 Sustainability Newsletter


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June 2024 Newsletter


Sustainability Newsletter

Community Impact and Engagement


Love Your Watershed & Garden Fair
May was a productive month for the Sustainability Division! Staff participated in several public events, including clean-up days in the community. On Saturday, May 4th Sustainability staff worked to educate the public on the booming sustainable successes that the County is leading at the Love Your Watershed Event hosted by the Santa Fe Watershed Association. From the recent ordinance on banning single-use plastics, to developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the leap to green has never been more in motion. Check out SFWA Executive Director, Mori Hensley’s highlight of the event here!

On Saturday, May 11th, staff tabled at the incredible Santa Fe Garden Fair, hosted by the Santa Fe Master Gardeners. With over 2000 visitors to the event, Sustainability staff had their hands full showcasing a demonstration collection of pinned native insects that residents may encounter in their gardens. It was also a great opportunity to promote the annual Backyard Composting Program which is accepting applications until an extended deadline of June 7. Lessons learned from the event will help update outreach materials to provide better insights for an interested public.

La Cienega Valley Clean-Ups
Santa Fe County would also like to shout out their appreciation to the La Cieneguilla Neighbors for their Adopt-a-Road cleanup efforts along Paseo Real Road and El Rancho de Las Golondrinas for their yearly Los Pinos Road cleanup. Sustainability staff picked up 32+ bags of trash collected by volunteers!

The efforts of Adopt-a-Road volunteers has a big impact on the environment downstream. Whether it's beautifying a local roadway, keeping plastics out of the watershed, or keeping wildlife from ingesting harmful waste, the community and ecosystem are better off after a pickup!

The Future of Water in New Mexico

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Water poses some of the biggest challenges for our community. To help meet these concerns, the Interstate Stream Commission Water Planning Program held a series of open houses and presentations across the state as part of their Main Stream New Mexico Campaign. The open houses were held to get public feedback on the Water Security Planning Act, which requires robust public engagement, community leadership, tribal sovereignty, and rural support. An open house for the Jemez y Sangre water planning district, which includes most of Santa Fe County, was held on May 15th. For those unable to attend the in-person open house events, online input will be open from June 3rd – August 18th.

Water runs through everything, and right now, water is one of the biggest challenges we face in New Mexico. It is our time to find solutions together.

To plan water management effectively, we also need consistent data on water resources across the state. In a belated effort to leap into the 21st century statewide the 2019 Water Data Act was passed. The Act identified directing agencies to establish consolidated water data accounts. Cleaning up contaminants in surface water is also a priority, important data for federal reporting is collected through the EPA's MS4 permitting program. In the April 30th Board of County Commissioners meeting, the County's MS4 Plan was formally adopted in Resolution 2024-064. To better understand the ways in which data can be used for these efforts, Sustainability staff attended the annual Water Data Workshop on May 10th alongside other municipal, county, and state staff. The Workshop discussed the progress made over the last 5-years of the Water Data Initiative and the status of the 2023 Water Planning Act. There is a plethora of obstacles ahead to ensure the quality of New Mexico’s water, yet action like this is contributes greatly in securing our water future.

What Can I Do?
Electrification and Fixer Upper Fun—Step 3

Energy Efficient

Note: The following editorial is by no means an expert opinion, it is merely a personal process shared in the hope of making these projects a little less confusing, cumbersome and costly for those also on this path. The rewards of lowering emissions and eventually utility bills while increasing your home’s structural resiliency really are worth the cost and effort. Rehabilitation of structures is a much better alternative for lowering emissions than new construction. Please find preceding articles in the archived April and May newsletter editions and reach out to the Sustainability Division to relay any of your own learnings on this topic so that we can add it to the electrification themed articles to come:

–Jacqueline Beam

My fixer upper progress after three and a half years includes the installation of a TPO Reflective Roof (Check) and Energy Star rated patio doors and windows (Check). Next came appliances and mechanical heating and cooling research. To replace my appliances with high efficiency electric alternatives, I knew I would need an electrical panel upgrade, yet I wasn’t sure how many new 220v outlets would be required considering the many appliances to be installed and new heating/cooling additions.

I decided to begin by searching for and choosing new appliances with the strategy of replacing older gas and non-efficient models with all electric, high efficiency versions and adding a mini split for heating and cooling before beginning the electrical panel upgrade. Shopping for Energy Star rated appliances is the more fun side of the challenge so I started there.


  • An old commercial gas range and stove needed to be replaced with an electric wall oven, microwave and air-fryer combo and an induction stovetop.
  • My Energy Star rated refrigerator was sufficient in efficiency, however, it was too wide for my new kitchen galley area.
  • I didn’t have a dishwasher, having thrown out (for scrap recycling) the previous non-functioning unit during the move-in.
  • I am on a domestic well and strive to save water wherever and whenever I can; Energy Star rated dishwashers, when operated fully loaded, can save half of the electricity of non-rated models and over 8,000 gallons of water annually.
  • My old, stackable washer and dryer were also rated for water conservation and energy efficiency, yet they were outdated in efficiency standards compared to current models. The dryer ran on natural gas, and neither were operating effectively. It was time to let them go for scrap and recycling as well.

I chose electric Energy Star rated models which received high reviews for efficiency and water conservation.

Lessons Learned:

1) Find a plumber to cap the gas lines before the new appliances can be installed and an electrician to run the 220v wiring for new appliances.

2) Research PNM to find out the rebate opportunities for my appliances.

3) Choose a mini-split for the number of zones that need heating and cooling and work with an HVAC contractor to discuss the electrical needs as well as the pros and cons of placement. It is important to note the capacity of the mini-splits available in the market and choose a product that has the ability to perform even in very cold temperatures. (My heat pump choice will effectively heat my two newer addition zones in -20 exterior temperatures with a reduction in efficiency below 0 degrees.)

4) The IRS offers incentives as well for replacing appliances through IRA and State programs which are in the process of being deployed.

After all was said and done with the research and selections, it was recommended by my electrician, that I replace my old panel, add a junction box and increase the electrical capacity from 100 watts to 200 watts allowing for the new appliances, future EV charging and potentially roof top solar. With the installation of all electric appliances and a heat pump I had nearly completed the final step towards converting my home to all-electric operation. All that remains is a natural gas water heater that is next on my list for replacement. Certainly, this has been a journey. Yet, I will be well on my way with the scaffolding needed for EV charging and PV in the future!

Stay tuned for the final step of my journey to electrification which will detail the process of upgrading my electrical panel in next month's article.

Other Highlights!

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World Environment Day

Global Wind Day 2

Desertification &Drought Day

CNC Results

Our June Picks

(Click on the blue titles for more information)


Xerces Society Habitat Kits

Available until June 30th!

Support local pollinators along the Santa Fe Pollinator Trail with this excellent opportunity to receive native plant garden starter kits!


Urban Heat Mapping: Volunteers Wanted!

Virtual Volunteer Training
Monday, June 10th
3:00 PM

Help Santa Fe collect on-the-ground temperature data to provide accurate information for NOAA on heat experienced in our community.


Las Vegas NWR Summer Fest

Saturday, June 8th
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Join the Las Vegas community in celebrating the reopening of the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center! Food, Music, and Activities!


ECOTONE: Bullseye Monitoring Workshop

Saturday, June 8th
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Learn how to conduct a Bullseye Survey of a rangeland area at this collaborative workshop hosted by Resource Management Services, LLC, Ecotone Landscape Planning, LLC, & the Santa Fe Conservation Trust!

Climate Re

Community Conservation Series: Climate Resilience

Santa Fe - Tribes & Pueblos
12:00 - 3:00 PM
June 6th

Virtual (All)
June 11th

The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD)’s Climate Policy Bureau (CPB) is hosting a series of community conversations across the state to debut and collect feedback on New Mexico’s first ever State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan (CARP).

Next Gen

2024 Next Gen Water Summit

Thursday - Friday
June 20th - 21st

This summit brings together the building and development community, water reuse professionals, and water policymakers in a collaborative setting.


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Sustainability Questions?

We are your local advisors on all things sustainability in Santa Fe County. Contact us with questions or to suggest topics for future newsletters!

Jacqueline Beam,

Michael Carr,

Will Donahoo,

Nav Khalsa,

Click to visit the Sustainability webpage