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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

Oct. 30, 2015, Vol. 7, No. 10

EV Rally of the Rockies proves
electric cars can go the distance

Network of public charging stations make EV travel, tourism possible

Eight electric cars driving 300 miles on electric power, plus five launch events, three ribbon-cuttings and one finish line party, made the first-ever EV Rally of the Rockies, held Oct. 3, a catchy success.

EV Rally of the Rockies media coverageCLEER organized the rally for Garfield Clean Energy, 10 co-sponsors jumped on board to be part of the action, and a team of Colorado Mountain College students filmed the event for a forthcoming documentary.

Drivers headed out from Grand Junction, Parachute, and Vail for a fall colors tour along I-70, stopping to charge in Glenwood Springs, while drivers from Snowmass Village and Aspen headed down Highway 82, with a stop for a ribbon-cutting in Basalt.

The point was 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.

Driving on electric power also saved about 180 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

CLEER staff assisted seven local governments from Parachute to Aspen in applying for state grants to help cover charging station installation costs and in working out technical bugs to get the stations up and running.

“You can buy one of these cars, and in the Roaring Fork Valley you would never need to buy gas,” said Carbondale Trustee Allyn Harvey, chairman of the Garfield Clean Energy board, during the finish line festivities in the CMC Lappala Center parking lot in Carbondale.

“Garfield Clean Energy is really behind this. Electric cars fits right in with CNG buses, putting solar on buildings and improving energy efficiency for homes,” Harvey added.

Stories and photos from the rally ran on the front pages of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and the Vail Daily, and the Associated Press picked up the Sentinel’s story for member papers across the country.

The rally inspired some extra fun:

  • Grand Valley Fire Chief Dave Blair brought out his mint-condition Ford Model A to escort the electric cars onto I-70 from the Parachute Rest Area, where they had charged up on solar energy from Parachute’s solar flowers.
  • Rally drivers dressed up for the occasion. Amy Westervelt wore a white pit crew jumpsuit, Craig Farnum bought and wore a bright red jumpsuit during his charging layover in Parachute, Laurie Guevara-Stone used squares of white duct tape to create a racing checkerboard on a black zip-top, and Matthew Shmigelsky wore his thrift store tuxedo.
  • Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron wielded four-foot scissors to cut a ribbon on the charger in the Rio Grande Parking Garage, and Utilities Efficiency Manager Jeff Rice is planning at least two more chargers for Aspen in 2015.
  • Vail public works crews brought out the town’s solar electric charging trailer to top off the charge on Adrian Fielder’s Nissan Leaf and Mike Ogburn’s Ford C-Max.

Auto dealers that are selling plug-in electric vehicles played a starring role. Fuoco Motor Co. of Grand Junction, a Nissan dealer, hosted the launch event in that city, and Mountain Chevrolet of Glenwood Springs brought three Chevy Volts to the finish line event in Carbondale, offering test drives to the EV-hungry crowd. (CLEER is now looking for a donor to help us buy a Volt to use as a company car – ha!)

CLEER’s collaboration with partners across the region put the EV Rally in the fast lane.

“As soon as we explained the concept, people immediately wanted to be part of it,” said Matt Shmigelsky, CLEER’s lead organizer.

The co-sponsors were Colorado Mountain College, the City of Grand Junction, Town of Parachute, Town of Vail, Town of Snowmass Village, City of Aspen, Town of Carbondale, Rocky Mountain Institute, CORE, Fuoco Motor Co., Mountain Chevrolet and Alpine Bank.

More on electric vehicles

Read driver Laurie Guevara Stone’s entertaining blog on her experience, posted on the Rocky Mountain Institute website.

View Peter Sinclair’s “This is Not Cool” video produced for Yale Climate Connections, including an all-electric monster truck. “We’re all looking for solutions to make our world better. But solutions can’t be all work. Solutions have to be fun also,” Sinclair says.


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Ribbon cutting at Amatis Controls

Photo by Nathaniel Wilder
Celebrating the opening of Amatis Controls new headquarters are, from left, Alice Laird, executive director of CLEER, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Gemma Hill, daughter of Amatis CEO Alex Hill, and Piper Foster, vice president of Amatis Controls.

Gov. Hickenlooper attends Amatis ribbon-cutting

High-tech building controls manufacturer moves HQ to Aspen

Amatis Controls welcomed Gov. John Hickenlooper and local elected officials to a ribbon-cutting event Oct. 12 to open its new headquarters, warehouse and production facility at the Aspen Airport Business Center.

Amatis builds wireless devices for internet-connected building systems, including energy meters for solar and renewable energy systems and wireless lighting controls. When it expanded to the 3,000-square-foot space in Aspen, the company also decided to move its manufacturing facility from Madison, Wisc., to unite operations at its Aspen-based headquarters.

Hickenlooper said Amatis is a good example of Colorado’s becoming a leading state in the renewable energy industry. “They’re going to be shipping stuff everywhere. It’s incredibly exciting,” Hickenlooper said.

Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron said the company’s move shows that Aspen can provide a friendly environment for small and medium-sized businesses operating outside the resort economy.

"Amatis' prosperity here in the Roaring Fork Valley proves the groundwork laid by organizations like CLEER and CORE, as well as the value our regional and city governments place on clean energy," said Piper Foster, vice president of Amatis Controls. "Energy literacy, the demand for renewable energy, and the qualified talent that we've found in the region paved the way for Amatis' success. We've hired five new people from the valley since January and anticipate sustained growth."

Amatis Controls in the news
The Aspen Times, Oct. 13, 2014
Governor visits Aspen, lauds renewable-energy facility

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Energy Coach Maisa Metcalf with a client

Energy Coach Maisa Metcalf’s Hot Tip

Do-it-yourself winter energy upgrades

Many home projects to make your home warm in the winter are fast and simple enough to do yourself. A bit of prevention in the fall will make your home more weather tight this winter.

  • Caulk and apply weather stripping to doors and windows.
  • On exterior walls, install foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates.
  • Use spray foam to fill larger gaps in places where air can leak out.
  • Tightly close the fireplace flue damper when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Maintain your furnace: Install a clean furnace filter now and buy enough spare filters so you can easily change them every month.
  • Winterize your swamp cooler: Unplug, turn off the water supply valve, open the drain, scour out the pan, change the cooler pads, close the damper and install the wintertime cover. Maintenance prevents rust and keeps cold air from seeping in.
  • Winterize your air conditioning unit: Turn off the water valve, drain hoses and pipes.
  • Insulate hot water pipes: If a pipe coming from your boiler or water heater is warm to the touch, wrap it with pre-slit foam insulation with built-in adhesive.
  • Set ceiling fans to run clockwise. This will push warm air at the ceiling down into the room.
  • Install your storm doors and windows. They’ll increase the efficiency of your windows and doors by 45 percent.
  • Rooftop and gutter heat tape: Install a heat tape timer, and set it to run the tape for six to eight hours during the day. This schedule uses daytime warmth and heat from the tape to melt ice, while keeping a drainage channel open to prevent ice buildup. Remember to turn off the heat tape once your roof melts out in spring. Rebates available.
  • Install a programmable thermostat: Program a standard model to fit your schedule, or invest in a “smart” thermostat that will program itself. Rebates available.
  • Upgrade lighting: Replace old incandescent bulbs and fat-tube T-12 fluorescents with LEDs. Rebates available.
  • Put electronics on a power strip: Use the simple on-off switch to shut off electronics that otherwise draw power even when they are not on.

Invest in winter energy upgrades

Some jobs are better to be done by professionals. Rebates are available for all of these upgrades, and free energy coaching from Garfield Clean Energy can help you make smart choices

  • Get an Energy Smart Colorado home energy assessment: $400 value for $100, with $100 worth of free on-the-spot upgrades installed the same day.
  • Professional air sealing and insulation: Bar none, the most cost-effective means of making your house cozy and warm in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer.
  • Furnace tune-up and safety check, plus testing for leaks in ductwork.
  • Upgrade your old furnace or boiler to a high-efficiency model that’s sized properly for your home.
  • Install storm doors and replace windows with high-efficiency units

Get started today

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ACEEE 2014 scorecard map of energy efficiency

Colorado moves to 13th in efficiency ranking of states

ACEEE uses six standards to rank states and territories;
Colorado was 16th in 2013

Colorado moved up three spots in the 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released Oct. 22 by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

The ACEEE’s eighth annual benchmarking report looked at six energy efficiency policy areas to rank the states. The report also includes recommendations for how states can continue to improve their energy efficiency performance.

ACEEE notes that energy efficiency is cleaner, cheaper, and quicker to deploy than building new supplies of energy.

Maggie Molina, Director of ACEEE's Utilities, State, and Local Policy program, said, "More and more governors and state lawmakers understand that they have a choice: Do nothing as costly energy is wasted or take action by creating incentives to waste less energy.”

The ACEEE reported that across the country, governments and utilities spent more than $7.7 billion in 2013 on programs to increase energy efficiency. Energy savings from these programs are saving 24 million megawatt-hours of electricity -- a 7 percent increase over ACEEE’s 2011 findings, and 276 million therms of natural gas -- a 19 percent increase.

“Smart energy efficiency choices maintain the same comfort, convenience, and quality of life that consumers want and expect,” Molina said. “Energy efficiency is also good for business. State action on energy efficiency improves bottom lines, drives investment across all sectors of the economy, creates jobs, and offsets the environmental harms created by the energy production system."

ACEEE ranked states on these six policy areas:

Utility and public benefits programs and policies
Transportation polices
Building energy codes and compliance
State government initiatives for energy efficiency
Combined heat and power (CHP) policies
Appliance and equipment standards

Colorado’s high scores on the first four areas gave it an advantage, but low scores on combined heat and power policies and appliance and equipment standards kept the Centennial state out of the top 10.

The report found that in 2014, Massachusetts continues to edge out California as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row.

Following these states in the top 10 are Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont, all tied for third place, followed by Connecticut, New York, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota.

WalletHub ranks state 7th for home and vehicle energy efficiency

Colorado scored seventh in another energy efficiency ranking effort by the personal finance website WalletHub. The site ranked states based on residential energy consumption, adjusted for climate differences, and on vehicle efficiency.

Colorado’s score of seventh for residential efficiency was strong enough to keep the state in seventh place overall, despite a 20th place ranking for vehicle efficiency.

WalletHub’s report web pages also feature interviews with nine energy experts about how to achieve rapid payback for home efficiency projects and evaluating incentives for home energy upgrades.

For example, Nicole Woolsey Biggart, director of the Energy Efficiency Center at the University of California Davis, recommends starting with a home energy assessment. “An audit really is critical. Don't even think about putting solar panels on a leaky house,” Biggart says.

Read the reports and news coverage

ACEEE’s 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard home page

WalletHub’s 2014 Most and Least Energy Efficient States

Denver Business Journal, Oct. 7, 2014
Colorado ranks No. 7 among the states for energy efficiency, WalletHub says

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GRID Alternatives installs solar on second local home

Mission is to bring solar energy to low-income homeowners in Colorado

Josh Kinzer installs a solar panel on a Glenwood Springs home
Josh Kinzer installs a solar panel on a Glenwood Springs home. Kinzer has volunteered on both GRID installations in Garfield County, in Grand Junction and traveled with GRID to Nicaragua to help bring electricity to rural villages. He is a recent graduate of the Colorado Mountain College solar energy program in Rifle, and is pursuing a career in solar energy.

GRID Alternatives Colorado finished its second installation of rooftop solar panels on a home in Garfield County on Oct. 17, using volunteers from Colorado Mountain College and people who traveled from as far as Denver to get hands-on solar installation experience.

The installation was at a home in Glenwood Springs, and follows an installation done earlier in 2014 in Carbondale. GRID plans to install solar panels at a total of 10 homes in Garfield County, all owned by low-income families, in partnership with CLEER and the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE).

GRID Alternatives is a non-profit organization that brings together community partners, volunteers and job trainees to install solar power and energy efficiency measures for low-income families. The benefits are energy cost savings, valuable hands-on experience, and a source of clean, local energy.

Based in California, GRID expanded to Colorado in 2012, and is working to bring the benefits of solar energy to low-income residents statewide.

For information about how to qualify, volunteer or donate, visit, or contact GRID at or (303) 968-1326.

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Energy upgrades keep winter’s chill outside

Do-it-yourself tasks, professional installations make your home cozy

Fall colors, frosty windows and chilly mornings are the friendly reminders that winter is on its way. But are there cold, drafty spots in your house where the winter chill creeps in?

If you take steps now to make your home ready for winter, you’ll enjoy lower heating bills and a comfortable living space.

Some things you can do yourself for little or no cost. The Energy Coaches at CLEER have put together a handy checklist of these tasks to get your home ready for winter.

CLEER Energy Coaches can also help you explore options for bigger improvements, and their service is free. They can help homeowners prioritize projects and make smart decisions, find contractors, evaluate bids, maximize rebates to bring down costs, and arrange for financing.

EnergySmart Colorado

“For homeowners, we highly recommend getting an Energy Smart Colorado home energy assessment,” said Energy Coach Shelley Kaup of CLEER, the local organization that provides energy coaching for Garfield Clean Energy.

“A trained home energy professional will visit your home, use specialty equipment to spot cold air leaks, and provide you a report of recommended upgrades. They will also check the safety of your gas appliances,” Kaup said.

The Energy Smart assessment costs only $100, and you’ll get $100 worth of on-the-spot energy-saving items installed that day, such as a programmable thermostat, hot water heater blanket, and LED light bulbs.

With your prioritized list in hand, your energy coach will help you make smart decisions about cost-effective home energy upgrades.

“We can help you work with contractors, and make the most of fantastic rebate offers that are available right now that will lower the project cost,” Kaup said.

“And if you need help paying for these upgrades, we can help you apply for a loan through Garfield Clean Energy,” Kaup said. The loan is especially helpful for emergency furnace or boiler replacements, and for homeowners who want to carry out several upgrades at one time.

Loans can be from $1,000 to $25,000 for terms up to seven years, and approval is ready within two business days. Interest rates depend on credit ratings.

“In addition to saving energy you can enjoy a more comfortable home immediately,” Kaup said.

Call 704-9200 or visit to get started.

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In this issue

EV Rally of the Rockies proves electric cars can go the distance

The Energy Center is in the works

Gov. Hickenlooper attends Amatis Controls ribbon-cutting

Energy Coach Maisa Metcalf’s Hot Tip: Do-it-yourself winter energy upgrades

Colorado moves to 13th in efficiency ranking of states

GRID Alternatives installs solar on second local home

Realtors partner with CEO, CLEER for Green MLS training

Bonus rebate offered to Glenwood Springs businesses

Energy upgrades keep winter’s chill outside


Green Drinks, Nov. 5 in Carbondale


Homebuilder Lennar to include solar panels in 4 Colorado new-home communities

Solar power prices are dropping fast, NREL says

EIA Analysis: Fossil fuel consumption goes up in 2013, but CO2 emissions fall

Lafayette voters consider utility tax to fund clean energy

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

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.

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Green Drinks

5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov 5
Third Street Center Gym, Carbondale

Green Drinks host Energetics Education celebrates its full non-profit status and introduces the Solar Rollers energy education program at this free event.

Come by for green drinking and green driving of Solar Rollers solar-powered remote control cars.

Learn more at

Energetics Education

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Peter Rusin and Cheryl Burns

Peter Rusin of the Colorado Energy Office and Cheryl Burns, executive director of the Glenwood Springs Board of Realtors.

Realtors partner with CEO, CLEER for Green MLS training

Added value of energy efficiency, renewable energy a new selling point

An introductory course in adding energy saving features to listings for homes on the market attracted 21 Realtors in a session held Oct. 14.

Peter Rusin of the Colorado Energy Office explained the “Green MLS” system to real estate professionals. Shelley Kaup of CLEER explained the local resources available for energy coaching and rebates through Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER.

The system uses new fields in the real estate listings to highlight the home’s energy efficiency rating, along with notable efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. The Realtors learned about the energy efficiency ratings and how to use the ratings as a selling point.

Realtors also learned about mortgage incentives offered by the state and federal governments. These can offset the higher purchase price of a more energy efficient home, or roll the cost of new energy efficiency upgrades into the home buyer’s loan.

The Colorado Energy Office is working toward statewide use of the Green MLS fields. The state already has data showing the price premium of homes with solar renewable energy systems. New data is being tracked to show the added value of superior performance for an energy efficient home.

The Oct. 14 class was the first in a three-part series to be offered through the Glenwood Springs Board of Realtors. The introductory class will be repeated on Jan. 22 for members of the Aspen Board of Realtors in collaboration with CORE, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency. The second and third classes will be held later in 2015.

For more information on local resources for home buyers, sellers and real estate professionals, contact Shelley Kaup at CLEER, (970) 704-9200 or

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30% bonus rebate offered
to Glenwood Springs businesses

Glenwood Spriungs ElectricGlenwood Spring Electric is offering a 30 percent rebate bonus for commercial customers who complete an electrical energy saving upgrade between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. CLEER manages the municipal utility's sustainability program.

If your business has old T12, incandescent or high bay lighting, refrigeration equipment with old motors, old motor controls, or heat tape with no timers, now is the time to upgrade and start saving energy.

Glenwood Springs Electric’s 2014 rebate for such upgrades is 50 percent of project costs up to $2,500 per business. This limited-time rebate bonus can raise the total rebate amount to as much as $3,250.

Projects must be completed by year-end, with invoices dated between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2014.

CLEER will assist interested commercial customers with a free building walk-through to identify electric energy savings potential, and free energy coaching to evaluate contractor bids and maximize all available rebates.

To get started, call CLEER at 704-9200, or visit

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> Denver Business Journal, Oct. 8, 2014
Homebuilder Lennar to include solar panels in 4 Colorado new-home communities

Lennar Corp. is launching its Solar 20/20 Plan in Colorado, including solar panels on every home it builds at four of its 24 Denver-area new-home developments.

> Denver Business Journal, Oct. 20, 2014
Solar power prices are dropping fast, NREL says

The price of solar power panels dropped as much as 19 percent nationwide in 2013 and are expected to drop by as much as 12 percent in 2014, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

> EIA Analysis: Fossil fuel consumption goes up in 2013, but CO2 emissions fall

U.S. Energy Information Administration released its online analysis of 2013 energy-related carbon dioxide emissions on Oct. 21. It indicates U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels were 5,396 million metric tons carbon dioxide in 2013, an increase of 2.5% from the 2012 level. Despite the increase in 2013, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remain 10% below 2005 levels.

> Solar Industry magazine, Oct. 23, 2014
Renewable Energy Supporters Take To The Ballots To Make Solar Power A Hometown Issue

People want renewable energy, and they are willing to pay an excise tax to fund it. At least, that's what advocates for the Lafayette Clean Energy Initiative say about an upcoming ballot issue.

On Nov. 4, voters in Lafayette, near Boulder, will decide whether to create a tax that will fund energy efficiency, sustainability and renewable energy efforts.

Ballot issue 2D would impose a 1% tax on residents' monthly residential gas and electric bill in 2015 and a 2% tax in 2016.

Robb Menzies, chair of the Lafayette Clean Energy Stakeholders Committee, is confident the tax will pass. "Lafayette is a very progressive city," he says.

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