Legislative Session | Earth Day 2024  
Electrification | Our March Picks

March 2024 Sustainability Newsletter

 

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March 2024 Newsletter

 

Sustainability Newsletter

2024 NM Legislative Session: Clean Fuel Standard Passed

At noon on February 15, the New Mexico Legislative session for 2024 came to a close. Throughout the 30-day capital shuffle several impactful bills were passed and now await the governor's signature.

The biggest of these bills was HB41 Clean Transportation Fuel Standards. If signed, New Mexico will join only three other states that have taken the initiative to promote action towards reducing carbon intensive fuels. Following the lead of California, Oregon, and Washington, clean fuel standards are a technology-neutral, performance-based policy that reduces the use of high-carbon transportations fuels while providing incentives to deploy lower-carbon alternatives such as electricity, hydrogen, and biofuels. A Clean Fuel Standard creates a Clean Fuel Market where credits are bought, sold and traded depending on the carbon intensity of the transportation fuel. The Clean Fuel Market only applies to those companies that import or produce transportation fuels for use in New Mexico. Fuels include traditional fossil fuel diesel as well as cleaner fuels such as renewable diesel, biodiesel, renewable natural gas and electricity.

With $430 billion of federal funding allocated to modernize the American energy system and almost $360 billion in private investments in clean energy during the first six months of 2023, New Mexico is capitalizing on the chance to lead the country in sustainable energy use. More information on the impacts of this legislation are available on the NMED website, including how the Clean Fuel Standard will effect gasoline prices, state economy, and credit processes.

clean

Save the Date for Earth Day!

Santa Fe County staff have been busy planning another amazing Earth Day celebration for 2024! In collaboration with Seeds of Wisdom, LLC., a new water catchment feature will be installed at the Arroyo Hondo Fire Station #1 off Seton Village Rd. The installation will include a variety of water saving enhancements designed to divert and sequester runoff from the adjacent asphalt parking area. We invite you to join us on April 20th for a morning of learning, gardening, and more as we put the finishing touches on the water runoff project! Event details and registration information are forthcoming. Click here for updates!

About the planned Arroyo Hondo Fire Station GSI

The downslope position from Seton Village Rd and runoff flow from the paved parking area at the Arroyo Hondo Fire Station make it an excellent location for water harvesting. Runoff is generated as rain and snowmelt flows over parking lots, rooftops, and other impervious surfaces. As it moves across the landscape, runoff can wash pet waste, motor oil, trash, and other pollutants into waterways. Polluted runoff is considered a significant threat to water quality in the United States, yet properly managed runoff can serve as an important water source in Santa Fe County’s dry climate. Santa Fe County only received a little over 12 inches of precipitation in 2022, lower than the annual average.

Traditional gray infrastructure (like gutters and pipes) typically move stormwater off the landscape. Green infrastructure, on the other hand, include techniques to use biological systems to capture and treat runoff in place. Rain gardens are just one example of green infrastructure. These gardens consist of sunken planted areas that collect runoff from nearby impervious surfaces and allow it to naturally soak into the ground. Rain gardens can help filter out harmful pollutants, provide habitat for wildlife, beautify neighborhoods, and support shade trees with minimal supplemental irrigation. The Arroyo Hondo Fire Station installation will capture runoff from adjacent paved areas and the road to slow down the path to the arroyo below and further enhance a beloved gathering space!

Learn more about water-wise landscaping and other sustainability initiatives at the County Earth Day event on April 20th!

Earth Day

Photo by Daniel E. Fresquez, Santa Fe County Media Coordinator


What Can I Do?

Home Energy Efficiency and Electrification – How Do I Get Started?

Electrification

The energy we use to heat and power our homes and businesses is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Fe County producing over 790,000 metric tons of CO2e in 2019. Meeting the Paris Climate agreement goal of reducing emissions to net-zero by 2050 will require a reimagining of how our homes and business consume (and in some cases produce) energy.

The 2019 Energy Transition Act mandates that public utilities (like PNM) and rural electric cooperatives (like Jemez Electric Coop and Central NM Electric Coop) produce a greater proportion of their energy from renewable resources over time with the goal of producing 100% of their energy using zero-carbon resources by 2045 and 2050. This means, that electric appliances and HVAC systems increase climate assets (and home) value while producing less greenhouse gas emissions over time. In 2050, a fully electric home or business will produce zero greenhouse gas emissions even without the use of solar.

Electric equipment and appliances have the added benefit of improving indoor air quality, improving comfort in winter and summer months and in many instances, reducing utility costs. Still, there isn't a one size fits all solution. The best energy efficiency and electrification improvements are dependent on rental or ownership status, income range, the age and condition of one's home or business, and budget priorities.

In the coming months the Santa Fe County Sustainability Division will explore different facets of the home energy and electrification questions to include available incentives, cost impacts, and equipment selection considerations as well as individual experiences. As buying decisions are made to replace equipment of appliances such as water heaters, stoves, or HVAC systems, consider if an electric path alternative is right for you!

Our March Picks

(Click on the blue titles for more information)


Spring

Spring Fever: Planning Your Pollinator Garden

Saturday, March 9th
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Learn about the role native pollinator insects play in our ecosystem, and how to support them by using host plants in your garden at the Southside Library.


Positive Solar

Webinar: Solar and Clean Energy for Businesses

Monday, March 4th
5:30 – 6:30 PM

Hear about relevant State & Federal incentives for energy upgrades, EV charging utility rebates and savings, and battery storage and energy security with Positive Solar staff.

Summit

2024 Land & Water Summit

Wednesday - Friday
March 6th – 8th

2024 Land and Water Summit features speakers who share their expertise on upgrading, retooling, adapting, and innovating systems to safeguard our land and water resources.


Water

Water Wisdom for Santa Fe

Saturday, March 30th
2:00 – 3:30 PM

Join for an exploration of community resilience in hotter, drier times, and how each of us can conserve our precious water resources at the Southside Library.

Conserve

Conservation in Santa Fe County Open Spaces

Saturday, March 16th
4:00 – 5:00 PM

Come learn about some of the natural resource management activities happening in Santa Fe County wild spaces at the Southside Library!


Eldorado

Eldorado/285 Recyclers Virtual Meeting

Tuesday, March 12th
4:00 – 5:00 PM

Eldorado/285 Recycles is a volunteer non-profit group dedicated to improving recycling and waste reduction in the Eldorado-Hwy 285 corridor communities and adjacent areas.


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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, jybeam@santafecountynm.gov

Michael Carr, mcarr@santafecountynm.gov

Will Donahoo, wdonahoo@santafecountynm.gov

Nav Khalsa, nkhalsa@santafecountynm.gov

Click to visit the Sustainability webpage