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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

Sept. 25, 2015, Vol. 7, No. 8

EV charging station at CMC Carbondale

Photo by Denise Barkhurst for the Sopris Sun
From left, Craig Farnum, CMC counselor, Mike Ogburn, CLEER energy engineer, and Adrian Fielder, instructional chair for CMC in Carbondale. Fielder is charging his Nissan Leaf, the blue car on the right, at the electric vehicle charger at CMC's Lappala Center. All three will be driving electric vehicles in the EV Rally of the Rockies on Friday, Oct. 3.

EV Rally of the Rockies shows off electric car muscle

Oct. 3 road rally starts in Aspen, Grand Junction and Vail,
converges in Carbondale

Seven electric vehicles will take a fall colors road rally on Friday, Oct. 3, through communities equipped with vehicle charging stations, ending with a party in Carbondale.

EV Rally of the Rockies

CLEER’s determined work to build regional use of electric vehicles and to help local governments install public-access charging stations is paying off.

“The EV Rally of the Rockies will show that electric car travel and tourism is now possible in western Colorado, and a lot of fun,” said Matt Shmigelsky, an energy coach with CLEER: Clean Energy Economy for the Region and organizer of the rally.

CLEER’s transportation team has worked closely with local governments in the region to assist them in seeking grants from the Colorado Energy Office to help pay for public charging stations. Now that a network of charging stations is in place, it’s time to celebrate with a road rally.

Drivers for the EV Rally of the Rockies will start in Aspen, Vail and Grand Junction, stop to recharge in Parachute, Glenwood Springs and Basalt, and continue to Carbondale. Launch events are set for 11:30 a.m. in Grand Junction, 1:30 p.m. in Vail and 2 p.m. in Aspen.

The Aspen event will include a ribbon-cutting of the city’s new public charge station in the Rio Grande Parking Structure.

Finish line festivities will be in downtown Carbondale from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., with electric vehicles on display, information and refreshments.

Students from Colorado Mountain College’s Isaacson School for New Media will ride along on each of the rally legs, sending out tweets and filming the rally for a documentary video. To follow the rally, look for the hashtag #EVRallyCO.

The EV Rally isn’t a race, said Allyn Harvey, chairman of Garfield Clean Energy, which is co-hosting the rally.

“It’s a pleasant tour to enjoy the fall colors,” Harvey said, “and to demonstrate that electric-powered passenger cars can cover long distances on western Colorado’s scenic highways, thanks to the growing network of free public electric vehicle charging stations.”

The EV Rally of the Rockies is hosted by Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER, Colorado Mountain College, CORE, City of Aspen, City of Grand Junction and Town of Vail, and sponsored by Alpine Bank, Mountain Chevrolet and Fuoco Motor Co.

For complete schedule info, visit .

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New furnace at Tiffany home

Photo by Kelley Cox
Pat Tiffany, right, and her granddaughter Lilly Tiffany, 3, show off the new high-efficiency furnace in the basement of their home in Silt. The family won Climate Control Co.’s “Oldest Furnace” contest. Climate Control installed this new furnace at no cost.

Climate Control banishes ‘fire-breathing dragon’

Silt contest winners get free installation of high-efficiency furnace

By Trina Ortega
Clean Energy Economy News
Sept. 25, 2014

Pat Tiffany used to be afraid to go into the basement of her home in Silt for fear of the “fire-breathing dragon” — a furnace circa 1920 that originally burned coal. Although it had been converted to run on natural gas, the unit was still scary.

But thanks to Climate Control Co. and its “Oldest Furnace” contest, the Tiffany family now has a new, high-efficiency gas furnace ready to keep their home warm this winter.

Their old furnace was so cranky and unpredictable that Tiffany and her husband, Larry, didn’t use it. For the past two winters, the Tiffanys used a series of electric space heaters to keep the house warm.

Old furnace in Tiffany home

Photo by Climate Control Co.
The “fire-breathing dragon” furnace in the Tiffany family’s basement dated to the 1920s, and was originally fueled by coal.

“We bought the house about two years ago and when we were looking at the house, the real estate agent took us to the basement. When I saw that thing, I said, ‘Oh please tell me that’s not the heater,’ ” she recalled.

One of the scary things about the old furnace was its huge pilot light, about 6 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter. It would rumble the floor when it would kick on, and it ran exceptionally loud.

“If you were in the basement and that thing kicked on, you would run,” Pat said. “I never went down there. I thought it was dangerous. I thought, ‘If that thing ever blows up, we’re not [even] going to know.’ ”

So the Tiffanys made do with space heaters scattered around their home until last spring, when Pat heard about Climate Control’s “Oldest Furnace” contest. The competition was straightforward: The household in the Garfield, Eagle or Pitkin county that had the oldest furnace would get a new one installed at no cost.

81 households entered ‘Oldest Furnace’ contest

According to Climate Control sales manager Chris Allen, the contest was a way to raise awareness about energy efficient residential furnaces, and gave the company a boost during the normal spring downtime. To enter, residents applied online and a Climate Control tech came to their home to examine the furnace and take photos.

Climate Control's Oldest Furnace contest

Pat Tiffany didn’t waste a day to enter what she had nicknamed “the fire-breathing dragon” into the competition. She was among 81 residents in the three county-area who entered.

“It was pretty big, as far as interest goes,” Allen said of the contest. “We actually had to extend the date of when to announce the winner, because we had so many entries we couldn’t get to all of the homes,” he said. Each visit included a quote for the cost of a furnace replacement or work that would improve the heating system.

In the process, Climate Control technicians found numerous homes in the region with furnaces that are 40 to 60 years old. Most hadn’t been maintained in a long time. Those old furnaces should be replaced, Allen says, because they simply weren’t made to operate that long.

Energy coaching, incentives and loans can help other families

Additionally, Allen said homeowners often weren’t aware of hundreds of dollars in incentives offered by Xcel Energy and SourceGas, and by community organizations such as Garfield Clean Energy and CORE, that can help pay for furnace or boiler upgrades and for furnace maintenance and tune-ups.

CLEER, which manages the services of Garfield Clean Energy, also offers free energy coaching to help households get started on these types of projects. In addition, Garfield Clean Energy and CORE offer residential loans for households making energy efficiency upgrades.

CLEER Energy Coach Matt Shmigelsky has also started coaching the Tiffany family to decide what other energy upgrades they should consider next for their home.

For the other 80 households that entered the “Oldest Furnace” contest, Allen said this combination of energy coaching, incentives and financing can help families get an aging furnace or boiler replaced before winter.

Furnace dated back to 1920s

When the Climate Control team saw the Tiffany furnace, they were pretty sure it would win. But they continued assessing all the other entries, so homeowners could move forward with upgrades if desired. (Contest or not, Climate Control offers free estimates.)  

The Tiffany’s furnace won “because they had the oldest furnace I have seen. I emailed the manufacturer a few pictures, and they sent a response back that it was made in the 1920s,” said Greg Knudsen, the company’s comfort specialist.

It was a gravity furnace that originally burned coal. With these old designs, coal is placed into the combustion chamber. The firebox heats the surrounding air before it rises into the upper levels of the dwelling through ductwork. Vents are attached to the ductwork throughout the home, and the hot air is released into the various rooms.

Because the firebox of a gravity furnace needs to heat up first, it takes about 15 minutes before the heat flows up into the living space.

The Tiffany’s furnace was intact and running, which was a stipulation of the contest. But Allen said safety was an issue with the old unit., and he understood the family’s decision to use space heaters.

“They were in dire need of a furnace that they could operate safely,” he said. “I just really felt like, ‘Man, I’m glad these guys won.’ I didn’t really realize before that they didn’t use the furnace because they were afraid of it.”

New furnace properly sized, ductwork replaced

Climate Control notified the couple in March with flowers and balloons and began work within the month. Prior to digging in, technicians ran heat-load calculations to determine the size of furnace needed for the 1,050-square-foot home and began removal of the dragon.

The Tiffany family of Silt

Photo by Kelley Cox
Pat and Larry Tiffany, with their granddaughter Lilly, at their home in Silt.

Allen says it’s a common misperception that the bigger the furnace, the better, no matter the size of the home.

“We sized the furnace for their house. It uses about half the gas as the one that was there. When it burns, it burns less and puts more heat into the home,” he said.

The new furnace is a Lennox ML195, with a 95 percent AFUE rating. The dragon ran at about 55 percent efficiency “at best,” according to Allen.

Usually this kind of upgrade saves a household 30 percent in heating costs. Since the Tiffanys didn’t run their old furnace much, they may see a rise in gas use, but their electric bill will drop because they won’t need the space heaters. Moreover, the new furnace will be safe and efficient.

The job involved unexpected challenges, including asbestos mitigation and replacing the old metal ductwork. Technicians ran new, compatible plastic ducts and vents, using the old coal chute to run the pipes to the exterior.

The total value of the furnace, asbestos and ductwork completed by Climate Control was $7,500.

“It’s beautiful. We never expected it to be this fantastic,” said Pat Tiffany. “If you want quality work and quality merchandise, Climate Control is the one you need to call. They are a very wonderful company.”

Tiffany is no longer afraid of going into her own basement, and has even started using the shelving in the furnace room. The best part is looking forward to a cold winter when she will do some knitting and keep her toes toasty in a warm home.

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Shell West Mart in Glenwood Springs

Photo by Heather McGregor
The Shell West Mart in West Glenwood, just north of the Exit 114 interchange, will soon host a CNG fuel pump at the outer fueling island.

Colorado awards grant for Glenwood CNG station

Eight new CNG stations funded under new grant program

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News
Sept. 25, 2014

The Colorado Energy Office has awarded grants to fund eight new compressed natural gas fueling stations, including a grant to Trillium CNG for a station at the Shell West Mart in Glenwood Springs.

Trillium CNG will use the state grant award of $440,000, along with a $100,000 grant from Garfield County and the City of Glenwood Springs, to offset some of the costs for the $1 million fueling station.

One of two pumps on the outer fueling island at the Shell station will become a 24/7 CNG dispenser. The compressor equipment and pressurized storage tank will be installed on a vacant lot just west of the station, in a configuration that would allow for future expansion.

CLEER Energy Coach Matt Shmigelsky brought seven local fleets to the table to sign pledges to replace existing fleet vehicles with CNG models and purchase fuel from the new station. These include the Shell station’s own fleet of two heavy-duty gasoline tankers. They are expected to save $1 or more per gallon-equivalent compared to petroleum fuels.

Natural gas is just one slice of a transportation energy security plan. It makes sense for trucks and other large vehicles, it's not imported and it's not vulnerable to international price spikes. Several communities are already running renewable biogas through CNG fueling infrastructure and vehicles after using natural gas as a bridge fuel.

The station is expected to be installed and running by summer 2015. Trillium CNG also installed and maintains the CNG fueling facility used by RFTA for its fleet of 22 CNG-powered BRT buses.

Other grants were awarded to Ward Alternative Energy for stations in Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland, to 4CNG for a station in Commerce City, to Colorado Springs Utilities for a station in that city, and to Sparq Natural Gas for stations in Pueblo and Trinidad.

The awards were for Round 1 of the Colorado Energy Office’s $15 million Alt Fuels Colorado grant program, which will continue through 2017 with twice-yearly rounds of station funding awards.

Station funding is one part of a group of incentives offered to commercial and government fleets to buy down the cost of CNG-powered vehicles and help pay for fueling stations.

Refuel Colorado Fleets program, also managed by CLEER, is providing free fleet energy coaching in 14 counties through the end of 2014 to help fleet managers make wise choices in adopting alternative fuels, including CNG, propane and electric.

Read coverage of the grant award in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

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Solar array installation at Carbondale Library

Photo by Emily Hisel, Garfield County Public Libraries
CMC student Eric Black, left, and Master Electrician Jordan Arnhold of Green-Tech Electrical work on the final row of solar panels for the 29.9 kW installation on the roof of the Carbondale Library.

Partnership puts solar atop another library

Five of six county libraries now benefit from clean solar energy

By Emily Hisel
Garfield County Public Libraries

The Carbondale Branch Library is now the fifth library in Garfield County to benefit from a rooftop solar energy system. It’s the third installation done by Colorado Mountain College students.

In 2012, the Garfield County Libraries first partnered with CMC’s Integrated Energy Program to install a 10 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system on the New Castle Branch Library. In 2013, CMC students returned to put a 19.6 kW array on the Silt Branch Library.

This summer, CMC students installed a 29.9 kW array on the Carbondale Branch Library. They wrapped up the project in September.

“The continuation of our work with the Garfield County Libraries has been very fulfilling for me personally” said Chris Ellis, the CMC instructor who taught the classes. “Community projects are a keystone to providing a healthy and sustainable society of which we can all be proud to participate.”

In 2012, the Garfield County Libraries first partnered with CMC’s Integrated Energy Program to install a 10 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system on the New Castle Branch Library. In 2013, CMC students returned to put a 19.6 kW array on the Silt Branch Library.

This summer, CMC students installed a 29.9 kW array on the Carbondale Branch Library. They wrapped up the project in September.

This partnership is unique because CMC students and their instructor, Chris Ellis, did the work from start to finish. Ellis started by working with eight students in CMC’s fall 2013 “Photovoltaic Components” course to plan and design the array.

Then Master Electrician Jordan Arnhold and others from Green-Tech Electrical worked with Ellis and five students enrolled in CMC’s “Photovoltaic Grid Tied” course this summer to install the solar panels on the Carbondale Branch Library roof. It took about 350 person-hours to complete the installation.

“The continuation of our work with the Garfield County Libraries has been very fulfilling for me personally” said Ellis. “Community projects are a keystone to providing a healthy and sustainable society of which we can all be proud to participate.”

Library District Facility Manager Jerry Morris said the libraries paid for materials and CMC students provided the labor – and gained from the learning experience. As a result, the Carbondale Library will start saving money immediately on its electric bill.

“The system will cut annual electrical demand at the library by 40 to 50 percent,” Morris said. “In winter, the solar will pretty much run the whole building, except during times of snow cover. In summer, the electric usage goes up because of the cooling demand.”

The Garfield County Libraries thank CMC and its students for their hard work and partnership on this project. The Libraries also credit the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), private donors, and the Garfield County Public Library Foundation for their generous grants and funding for this important project.

Solar electric systems were installed at the Rifle and Parachute libraries in 2010 through Garfield Clean Energy, with coordination of those installations provided by CLEER. The Rifle system is 53 kW and the Parachute system is 10 kW.

To see how solar energy is helping these libraries cut energy costs, visit and click on “Garfield Libraries.”

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In this issue

EV Rally of the Rockies shows off electric car muscle

Climate Control banishes ‘fire-breathing dragon’

Colorado awards grant for Glenwood Springs CNG station

Partnership puts solar atop another library

Energy Coach Hot Tip for September


Facility Manager Roundtable - Oct. 1

Do 5 Things to Save Energy - Oct. 4

An Evening with John Perlin - Oct. 6

In the news

The Energy Center

The Energy Center
is in the works

The Energy Center is in the works, and we need your support for this exciting project.

CLEER and CORE have joined forces to create The Energy Center (working name) at the Third Street Center in Carbondale. It’s a new public portal to clean energy, located right at the front of the building.

The Energy Center will:
-       Make it easier for people to receive services and information from both organizations.
-       Offer educational opportunities for people of all ages.
-       Serve as a demonstration center for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
-       Increase collaborative efforts between CLEER and CORE for greater impact.

We need your support to make The Energy Center, a joint project with CORE, develop and grow.

Click here to make a secure donation today.

All donors to The Energy Center will be listed at the entrance to the center.
Add your name today.

Submit your news and events to
Clean Energy Economy News

Clean Energy Economy News accepts news, events and training information related to clean energy and sustainability for monthly publication. Send your items to Editor Heather McGregor at


Garfield Clean Energy
Facility Manager Roundtable

1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 1
Colorado Mountain College Central Services Building
802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs

Facility managers from the public and private sector are invited to attend this free, two-hour session focused on building controls, lighting and other current topics.

Meet with your peers to learn about new technology and share ideas on better building management.

Confirmed facility manager participants:
Chad Kruse, Valley View Hospital
Phil Meadowcroft, Colorado Mountain College
Jerry Morris, Garfield County Public Libraries
Jodi Smith, Pitkin County
Tim Davis, Mesa County Public Libraries

Sponsored by Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER: Clean Energy Economy for the Region and Colorado Mountain College.

The event is free. Click here to register in advance.

Do 5 Things to Save Energy

3:00 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 4
Carbondale Branch Library
320 Sopris Ave., Carbondale

Join CLEER and CORE at the Carbondale Branch Library for a one-hour presentation about five easy steps to save energy this weekend. You’ll also learn about five energy-saving things to do to make your home comfortable for winter.

The presentation will explain how energy is used in your home, and how you can reduce your energy usage with these simple actions. Learn about the rebates and financing options available to improve your home’s performance. The whole family is invited.

Attendees will each receive one free LED lightbulb.

Let it Shine: An evening
with John Perlin

6:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 6
Calaway Room, Third Street Center
520 S. Third St., Carbondale

John Perlin

Join author, lecturer, and expert in solar energy and forest preservation John Perlin for a free presentation on his newest book: Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy.

Hosted by CLEER, Solar Energy International, Colorado Mountain College, Sunsense and SoL Energy.

John Perlin has written four books on solar energy and forestry, and his exhibits on these subjects have traveled throughout the world. Perlin works at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Physics and Student Affairs.

He and his colleagues Walter Kohn and Alan Heeger, all Nobel laureates, produced the film, The Power of the Sun, which illustrates how Einstein’s discovery of the photon helped lead to the development of today’s booming photovoltaic industry. The film was inspired by Perlin’s book, From Space to Earth.

More info at

Energy Coach Shelley Kaup’s
Hot Tip for September

Air-sealing shuts down chilly drafts, makes your home more comfortable

Shelley Kaup

Energy Coach Shelley Kaup

“Does your home have cold spots? Drafty corners or cold floors? Windows or doors that don’t close properly? Holes for plumbing or wiring? A chimney flue that isn’t sealed? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, your comfort at home this winter will benefit from air-sealing,” says CLEER Energy Coach Shelley Kaup.

“Winter heating bills are high enough as it is. There’s no need to let that warmth flow out of your house through air leaks,” Kaup added.

That said, air leaks are often hard to see. Kaup recommends that households get a home energy assessment with a blower-door test and infrared camera. These on-site tests use a blower-door fan to reduce the air pressure inside the home. This increases the flow of outside air into the home, which is readily detected by the infrared camera.

The building energy analysts who conduct the home energy assessment are also qualified to do the work needed to air-seal your home, which involves a lot of crawling around using spray foam and a caulk gun. Air sealing can also be a do-it-yourself job.

“Even homes with plenty of insulation can have problems with air leaks,” Kaup said. “A complete air-sealing will maximize the effectiveness of your home’s insulation.”

Rebates are available for home energy assessments and for air-sealing jobs done by a professional. To get started, call a CLEER Energy Coach at (970) 704-9200, or visit

More info online from the U.S. Department of Energy and ENERGY STAR

Guide to home air-sealing | Tips for do-it-yourself air-sealing



Denver Business Journal, Aug. 29, 2014
Clean Energy Collective opens two Denver community solar arrays
By Cathy Proctor

“We’re really excited to open these two new solar facilities in Denver,” said Paul Spencer, CEC’s founder and CEO. “Broad accessibility is vital for any clean energy plan, yet it must make sense financially to the average person or business. Community solar is a solution that combines both,” Spencer said.

Aspen Daily News, Sept. 22, 2014
Soaking in the savings at Roaring Fork High School
By Danielle Kaeding

The Roaring Fork High School Energy Club received the first shout-out of the day on Wednesday when student Jackson Hardin took the stage in the school’s auditorium to congratulate the nine-member group on their efforts to push forward a solar installation project on the grounds.

New York Times, Sept. 23, 2014
The Benefits of
Easing Climate Change

By Eduardo Porter

All things considered, the cost of curbing carbon emissions may be considerably cheaper than earlier estimates had suggested. For all the fears that climate change mitigation would put the brakes on growth, it might actually enhance it.


Submit your news and events to
Clean Energy Economy News

Clean Energy Economy News accepts news, events and training information related to clean energy and sustainability for monthly publication. Send your items to Editor Heather McGregor at