October 2015

Sustainable Santa Fe: Building Resilience to a Changing Climate

Mayor Javier Gonzales

Making Santa Fe a leader in renewable-energy and sustainability programs can contribute to our economic development while at the same time securing our energy future. What’s more, it will help us answer the global imperative of climate change, making our city more resilient in the face of the single most important challenge we will ever face.

The city has made tremendous progress in energy efficiency, and I’m proud to say that 25 percent of the electricity our city facilities use is generated by renewable-energy sources, but we can do more. That’s why last November, Santa Fe’s governing body passed More >

The Santa Fe Climate Action Task Force

  Climate Action Task Force Co-chairs: Councilor Peter Ives and Former City of Santa Fe Mayor David Coss

As the co-chairs of Santa Fe’s Climate Action Task Force, we have had the distinct pleasure to work with numerous sustainability experts to achieve the task force’s mission of counseling and advising the city of Santa Fe’s governing body on the types of strategies and programs the city should undertake to create a healthier, more resilient, adaptable and vital community. Such a broad undertaking required the task force to create a set of working groups, or committees, focused on identifying and prioritizing what could be More >

A Sustainable Santa Fe Vision

Ken Hughes

It’s 2040 in Santa Fe. Temperatures typically top 90 degrees half the year. Rainstorms are infrequent, warm and ferocious. Others areas around New Mexico have been hit hard, with many communities dried up. Yet, because of actions taken 25 years ago, Santa Fe avoids a setting for a Cormac McCarthy novel and remains a livable city that offers sustainable levels of food, water, energy, mobility and sociability.

Inspired by no-carbon cities such as Colonia, Uruguay, Santa Fe sports hundreds of pocket gardens and thousands of street trees watered from batch wastewater plants that process water from nearby homes and businesses, More >

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Keys to a Climate-Neutral Future

Santa Fe’s Climate Action Task Force

Jack McGowan, CEM and Beth Beloff

Santa Fe and the U.S. must fully leverage energy efficiency and renewables for many reasons, including climate change. Doing just that is the charge of an exciting collaboration between the city and private citizens serving on Santa Fe’s Climate Action Task Force (CATF). The CATF Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy (EE/RE) and finance groups include 30 industry professionals. These working groups were formed to make recommendations that will drive positive action. The Finance Group advises all of the working groups on innovative financing options.


Timing for renewable energy couldn’t be better since More >

Book Profile: Big Data and Smart Energy: The Next Frontier for Buildings and Homes

Wearable technology devices that measure the number of steps walked, steps climbed and other personal metrics are, among some, the rage for fitness. But why would you want this for a building? Quite simply, because we commonly manage energy through a rearview mirror. Until the monthly electricity or natural gas bill comes, we don’t know how we are doing. This applies to consumption, efficiency and solar systems. Without specialized gear, most people don’t know if their panels have been generating electricity until the bill comes.


The Internet of Things and Smart Energy technology can tell us how building systems are performing More >

The Microgrid Systems Laboratory


David Breecker


The Microgrid Systems Laboratory (MSL), headquartered in Santa Fe, is a fully integrated innovation center for decentralized energy architectures. With a mission to “accelerate the commercial deployment of microgrid systems worldwide,” MSL represents a collaborative effort to speed the transition to a more resilient, sustainable and accessible electricity system. Microgrids are community-scaled smart-energy networks and are enabling infrastructure for smart grid and other advanced energy technologies. This includes deployments in the developing world, to help alleviate “energy poverty”; in the emerging economies, to reinforce and extend infrastructure; and in the industrial world, to modernize the existing grid for improved More >

City of Santa Fe: Renewable Energy on City Facilities and Energy Performance Contracting

John Alejandro

In an effort to reduce the use of fossil fuel-based electricity and save money on its electric bills, the city of Santa began installing renewable-energy and energy-efficiency technologies in many of its facilities. Since 2007, 13 renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects have been completed, largely funded by $1.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus funds). Currently, 10 renewable energy systems generate 4.8 MW of electricity, meeting approximately 25 percent of all city facility power needs:

  • Buckman Direct Diversion Project: 1.0 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) system, and an additional 1.5 MW PV system located at Booster 2A;
  • Transit Division: More >

Energy Efficiency Training at Santa Fe Community College

Amanda Hatherly

In January 2011, the stunning new Trades and Advanced Technologies Center (recently awarded LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council) opened at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). Serendipitously, at the same time, a $1-million grant to fund a state training center for the Department of Energy Weatherization program was awarded to New Mexico, and SFCC was chosen as its home. The New Mexico EnergySmart Academy (NMESA) was created and housed in a new building. With that funding and an additional $500,000 from the Department of Labor a year later, NMESA could purchase state-of-the-art equipment and develop a quality More >

Spotlight on Santa Fe’s Sustainable Business Roundtable

Glenn Schiffbauer

The Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce hosted an educational pilot program this year called the Sustainable Business Roundtable. Local participants included The Good Water Company, Reynolds Insurance, Positive Energy, Joe’s Diner, Palo Santo Designs, Inn of the Governors and Tomasita’s restaurant. Facilitators were Chris Putnam of Nubu Design, Robb Hirsch of EDL Consulting and Bob Mang of Regenesis.

The purpose of this program was to engage these local businesses and facilitators in the mutual pursuit of sustainability, with the aim of bettering local business, the community and the protection of our environment.

The pilot program started in the fall of More >

Santa Fe Water Conservation Accomplishments


Caryn Grosse

An unprecedented drought in 2002 provided a unique opportunity to change Santa Fe’s cultural values about water, and the drought of the past few years has reinforced the importance of conservation to maintaining a diverse and sustainable water supply in an arid region. Climate change, anticipated in the city’s Long Range Water Supply Plans, may adversely affect the water supply so water conservation and reuse will be crucial elements of our water resource management in the future.

Since 1997, the city of Santa Fe has built a water conservation program that is among the best in the Southwest with respect More >

A River Runs through Us

Melissa A. McDonald Before construction of Santa Fe’s reservoir system in 1947, the Santa Fe River ran as a continuous flow. From its snow-fed branches in the upper watershed to the Río Grande, fish would swim, birds would fly and wildlife would come to splash and drink. Before Santa Fe was given its Spanish name, it was called “Po’e Gae,” meaning “watering place.”

We were blessed over the last two years with a substantial amount of water in the river due to necessary improvements of the Nichols and McClure reservoirs. With these projects almost complete, you may hear that “we’ll never again More >

Happy 100th Birthday, Luna Bergere Leopold!


Born in Albuquerque on Oct. 8, 1915, Luna Leopold was the second son of Aldo and Estella (Bergere) Leopold. In 1948, Aldo died soon after hearing that Oxford University Press planned to publish A Sand County Almanac. Fortunately, Luna saw to it that the manuscript became a book, and now we have one of the most important books of the ecological movement. Like his father, Luna was a brilliant scientist with successful careers in both government and academia. Awarded his doctorate in geology from Harvard in 1950, he spent 22 years with the U.S. Geological Survey and then joined the More >

Restoring Santa Fe’s Arroyos to Improve Climate Resiliency


Kristina G. Fisher and Andy Otto As we work to secure Santa Fe’s future in a changing climate, one crucial element will involve adapting to a new water reality.

Among the many expected effects of climate change is a shift in precipitation patterns. In the coming years, Santa Fe will likely receive more rain than snow, and this rain will likely fall in fewer, heavier storms. Rainstorms like the ones we have seen the past couple of years, during which several inches of rain fall on the city in an hour or two, will become increasingly common.

This change brings two major challenges. More >

Santa Fe Public Schools Initiatives Support Resilience to Climate Change

Lisa Randall


Whether it’s stormwater catchment, cafeteria food-waste composting, solar photovoltaics (PV), energy and water monitoring dashboards, or the ongoing energy and water conservation efforts at our 33 properties, Santa Fe Public Schools is proud to be a part of the mayor’s Climate Action Task Force efforts. Building community resiliency to current and future climate challenges is everyone’s responsibility, and as one of the area’s largest employers and resource consumers, SFPS is committed to becoming a strong partner in efforts to increase awareness and action.

Since beginning our conservation work in 2010, we’ve been able to consistently decrease usage of water, natural More >

Santa Fe’s Expanded Recycling Program Bears Fruit

Adam Schlachter


There has been much discussion about the local recycling program, both in the city of Santa Fe and in Santa Fe County. Three entities—the city’s Environmental Services Division, the Santa Fe County Solid Waste Department and the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency—play different roles in the system, but work very closely together to support recycling efforts. As of July 2015, the agency, which manages the materials handling sections of the system, signed a contract with Friedman Recycling of Albuquerque to process and market all recyclable materials collected in Santa Fe. Due to this new contract, city and county More >

Reunity Resources: Zero-Waste Solutions

Tejinder Ciano


When I arrived in Santa Fe, a transient/transplant from Los Angeles with a vision of creating sustainable community in my heart, I had many a Santa Fean tell me that this place would either pull me in or spit me out. Six years, two businesses and two children later, I am proud to be a part of the City Different and to participate in the long-term planning and work needed for a truly Sustainable Santa Fe.

I lived in Española for a time and worked on the Seeds of Change farm, then relocated to Santa Fe and began taking courses More >

Food and Farming Are Central to Climate Change Solutions


Morgan Day The mayor’s Climate Action Task Force Subcommittee on Water, Land Use and Food Security was tasked with making recommendations about how to mitigate the impacts of climate change on food security in the city of Santa Fe. Food security exists when all people have access to safe, nutritious food by being able to physically get it by going to the store or by growing it—and by being able to afford it.

As climate change increasingly continues to impact our region and other regions, including California, we will see its effects on the availability of natural resources such as water, soil More >

Earth Care Programs Teach the Value of Local Food


Ashley Zappe “Is it mint?” one boy guessed. “No! That’s strawberries!” another boy shouted. “Onions? Tomatoes? Celery?” I held a paper bag with wispy thin green leaves sticking out the top for the group of 11-year-olds to see. They had no idea what food it could be. Slowly I pulled up the leaves, revealing a bright orange carrot. Within minutes, they were all taking enthusiastic bites of this fresh garden veggie. Once they had guessed the plant, they wanted to taste it—including raw onions!

This was the first day of Earth Care’s Garden Program at the Boys and Girls’ Club this summer. More >

Newsbites – October 2015



Climate Change News While New Mexico is no longer in the grips of a severe, 10-year drought, (thanks to an unusually rainy spring and early summer, with a strong El Niño weather pattern predicted through the winter), UNM climatologist David Guzler says that it’s important to think of this rainy spell as a short-term abatement of a long-term water resource challenge. Like the rest of the West, New Mexico’s largest snow-fed reservoirs are still not in great shape. Four independent studies in 2014 found the highest annual global surface temperatures in at least 135 years. 2015 is expected to break More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – October 2015

Oct. 3, 10 am opening Maize Maze—Celebrating Pollinators Los Poblanos Fields Ag Open Space (north of Montaño) 8-acre corn maze. Activities, public art installments, scavenger hunts to educate and inspire visitors about pollinators. Presented by the city of ABQ and the Río Grande Community Farm. Saturdays and Sundays in Oct. $7/$5. 505.977.3355, info@riograndefarm.org, www.riograndefarm.org

Oct. 7, 5:30-7 pm Green Drinks Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second St. NW Network with people interested in doing business locally, clean energy alternatives and creating sustainable opportunities in our communities. Presented the first Wednesday of each month by the ABQ and Río Rancho Green Chamber. info@nmgreenchamber.com, www.greendrinks.org

Oct. 10-Nov. 10 Master More >