2018 Champion City

Fort Collins, CO : 2018 Winner

Ushering Rental Housing into the Age of Efficiency

  • 164,207

  • Wade Troxell

  • City Manager

    Type of Government
  • 2 years

    Length of Term
  • Climate

    Issue Area

The Problem

Nearly 50,000 of Fort Collins’ low-to-moderate income residents live in energy-inefficient housing that perpetuates health and economic disparities in the community.

The Idea

The City of Fort Collins will work to make housing safer and more energy efficient for low-income renters by offering landlords a creative mix of low-cost financing, simplified underwriting, and pre-screened contractors.

What Wade Troxell, Mayor of Fort Collins, CO is saying:

We believe that the Mayors Challenge competition highlights the need for cities to increase their collaboration with the private sector to scale up real solutions that make an impact…Our EPIC program is working hand-in-hand with local contractors and property owners to upgrade older, less energy-efficient rental units where many low- and moderate-income families live - not only to save residents money, but also to improve the health and well-being of our entire community.


Our Prototyping Journey

    Let's Go

  • Fort Collins will create a fund for incentivizing energy-efficiency upgrades of low and middle-income (LMI) rental housing. The city will test the communications messaging and mechanics of this fund by engaging rental property managers, LMI renter residents, and capital providers.

    We believe our idea will positively impact families with lower means as well as property owners and owner occupied residencies

    Sean Carpenter, Climate Economy Advisor
  • Ideas into Action

  • What we're discovering through testing

    Some City Hall staff have found the pace of testing and working in a low-fidelity way different, and sometimes uncomfortable. Despite these challenges, the team has found it helpful to explain that testing and sometimes failing quickly can save government – and therefore taxpayers – time and money. This message is received well, but changing culture and mindsets take time. The team is working hard to embed a culture of innovation in the city.

    Property managers were a key group to engage in the early tests, as they hold influence over property owners. Although there was some initial distrust, the team used visual communications and open discussions to explain the process. This has helped build credibility and engagement in the project, and to reshape the opinion of the property managers during the test.

    Fantastic conversation and community input yesterday at @Food4LarimerCo! 50+ families and residents had ideas for our plans to make rental properties in Fort Collins more energy efficient. #MayorsChallenge @BloombergCities

    5:41 PM - 7 Jun 2018   fortcollinsgov  
  • Reflections

  • What we've learned

    Through the testing phase, the Fort Collins team learned that they could attract third party investment capital to fund the loan program without depending on taxpayer dollars. To date, the team has already secured $10-12M in outside financing from the Colorado Energy Office and the First National Bank.