Energy efficiency and conservation practices build a more sustainable community in terms of enhanced air quality, natural resource protection, and greenhouse gas reductions. However, implementing energy programs takes political will that may not be present in every community. Twin Falls County, Idaho has taken steps toward improving energy efficiency, transparency, accountability, and innovation in local government through the creation of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (EECS), which outlines long-term plans to integrate relevant initiatives into government operations. This strategy is intended for inclusion in the County’s Comprehensive Plan, Development Code, operational policies, and other long-range planning documents.
With the assistance of HDR Engineering, Twin Falls County established long-range goals to make energy efficiency, resource conservation, reduction of greenhouse gasses, and responsible economic stewardship a part of everyday municipal operations.
The EECS is an excellent example of using a rational and inclusive approach to create a plan that integrates the objectives of existing plans, identifies new objectives, projects and policies, and establishes metrics for measuring progress.
The EECS was produced with funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. The American Planning Association, Idaho Chapter awarded Twin Falls County the Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice for the EECS.
All of the policies are in the process of implementation including energy audit administration, and lighting and thermostat replacement; programs like paperless filing, recycling, and group transportation options have been expanded with the adoption of the strategy. The process and policy are documented clearly for stakeholders and present achievable objectives for the community considering the financial limitations and political environment of the county.
This is an example of a feasible first step other communities can take, complete with a well-outlined process that can be used as a template.
Twin Falls County Energy Efficiency and Conservation StrategyTwin-Falls-County-EECS-FINAL_smaller
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