2015 and 2016 will be ‘particularly good years’
to make switch to alternative fuels
Refuel Colorado Fleets, the program managed by CLEER aimed at building market demand for alternative transportation fuels, has expanded operations from 14 pilot counties to the entire state.
Since the Refuel Colorado Fleets pilot program rolled out in 2013, Refuel fleet coaches have provided free coaching services to 226 government and private sector fleets. Of these, 114 fleets either purchased alternative fuel vehicles in 2013 or 2014, or were planning to do so in 2015.
The statewide program will have a team of six fleet coaches dedicated to working with fleet owners, auto dealers, fueling station owners and station developers throughout Colorado.
The Colorado Energy Office contracts with CLEER to manage the Refuel Colorado Fleets program. Community-based fleet coaching services are offered by Northern Colorado, Southern Colorado and Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalitions, South Central Council of Governments, Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency and CLEER.
The coaches help fleet owners understand the benefits of alternative fuels, particularly compressed natural gas, propane and plug-in electric. Coaches also are actively promoting the development of more fueling stations across the state, and helping auto dealers market alternative fuel and bi-fuel cars and trucks.
“The Refuel Colorado Fleets Coaching Program addresses a significant barrier to the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in the state, which is access to information. Many fleet operations stand to save substantial money by moving to alternative fuels, but they lack the information necessary to make that decision,” said Jeffrey Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office.
Mike Ogburn, Refuel Colorado Fleets program manager for CLEER, said energy coaches help fleet managers analyze their vehicle inventory, and connect with vehicle dealers and alt-fuel stations.
“The goal is to accelerate fleet adoption of alt fuel vehicles — vehicles that will deliver a solid return on investment,” said Ogburn.
“Coaches also can explain the tax credits and grants for alt fuel vehicles and stations that are currently offered in Colorado. These incentives make 2015 and 2016 particularly good years to make the switch to alternative fuels,” Ogburn said.
Alternative fuels are cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel. They generally cost less, have less price volatility, and are produced in the U.S. Identifying opportunities to use alternative fuels in Colorado’s fleets can save money.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded the 2013-2014 pilot program through a grant to the Colorado Energy Office. With the project’s successes in hand, the Office is funding the statewide expansion for 2015.
The DOE grant also included the launch of www.refuelcolorado.com, an online tool designed to give businesses and consumers information about alternative fuel vehicles. The Refuel Colorado website will serve as a portal to the fleet coaching program, including contact information for the fleet coaches.
The Colorado Energy Office contracts with the Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) of Carbondale to manage the Refuel Colorado Fleets program. Community-based fleet coaching services are offered by Northern Colorado, Southern Colorado and Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalitions, South Central Council of Governments, and Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency and CLEER.
More families encouraged to apply for free home energy upgrades
CLEER Energy Coach Maisa Metcalf says response has been “phenomenal” from households interested in Garfield Clean Energy’s 2015 Home Energy Program.
“We have gotten calls from 49 households, and 17 have already been approved for the program,” said Metcalf. “We got 25 calls in the very first day it was announced. It’s been phenomenal, and really shows the need for home energy upgrades.”
More families, couples, singles and seniors who can meet the income guidelines are encouraged to apply, she said. Households must fill out an application form, and approvals are turned around by the next day.
“We’d especially like to see families from Battlement Mesa, Parachute and Silt apply,” she said. “And we have additional funding from the Town of Carbondale, so we can serve a lot more households there.”
The program provides a free home visit from two energy coaches who will install a variety of quick-fix items during their visit. Then the coaches will coordinate with local contractors to carry out upgrades needed in the home.
Quick-fix upgrades can include programmable thermostats, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, carbon monoxide detectors, hot water heater blankets, LED light bulbs and easy-to-use caulk tubes.
Depending on the needs of the home, energy upgrades done by contractors could include a furnace or boiler tune-up and safety check, insulation and air sealing, high-efficiency refrigerator, high-efficiency water heater, or storm windows.
Home Energy Program
“Households won’t have to pay for any of these improvements,” Metcalf said. “These upgrades will help lower your energy bills and make your home a lot more comfortable.”
Metcalf said she has started scheduling the home visits, starting in mid-March. Homes can be single-family houses, apartments, townhouses, condos or mobile homes. Applicants can be renters or homeowners.
The home energy visits and energy upgrades are being paid for through a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, by funding from the Town of Carbondale’s Clean Energy 2020 program, and by Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy and SourceGas.
If you or someone you know could be eligible, contact CLEER for more information: (970) 704-9200 or email@example.com
Workshops and vendor booths show latest trends in technologies and techniques
Building and mechanical contractors, architects, real estate professionals, property managers, and materials suppliers can learn about the latest trends in technology and technique at the 2015 Energy Smart Contractor Expo, set for April 2 in Glenwood Springs.
The half-day event will feature booths hosted by suppliers and installers showing energy efficiency and renewable energy products, and by energy utilities explaining their incentives programs.
In addition to the expo there will be eight 30-minute workshops that participants can attend. The expo also includes plenty of break time for perusing the booths and networking.
The Expo is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. The $17 admission fee covers the workshops, breakfast and lunch.
To register, visit energy-smart-contractor-expo-2015.eventbrite.com
“We are offering a great line-up of breakout sessions led by experts about health and safety, energy efficiency, and renewable energy ,” said CLEER Energy Coach Maisa Metcalf.
- Matt Thesing, One Source Lighting: Trends in LED Lighting
- Max Rohr, Shamrock Sales: How to Get HVAC Equipment Working at Peak Performance
- Steve Haines, Sunsense Solar: When Solar Makes Sense
- Geoff McBride, Daikin Comfort: Heat Pumps and Geothermal Heating (invited)
- Tony Haschke, SGM: Getting Automation Controls Under Control
- Rob Hartop, Stanton Engineering: Radon Mitigation and How You Can Save Lives
- Mark Attard, A&E Building Systems: Better Building Envelope
- Mike Tierney, Aspen Solar: Heating with Solar Thermal (invited)
The Energy Smart Contractor Expo is hosted by Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER, Energy Smart Colorado and CORE.
Gold-level sponsors include Holy Cross Energy and Xcel Energy.
Silver-level sponsors are Sunsense Solar, One Source Lighting, City of Aspen Utilities, All-Phase Electric Supply Co. and Quality Solar.
Vendor booths will be hosted by the gold and silver sponsors and by Zehnder America showing home ventilation and energy recovery systems, Shamrock Sales showing hydronics heating systems, Green Tech Refrigeration showing EC motors for cooling, Frostbusters & Coolth showing insulation and air sealing, Eco-Source Lighting showing new lighting fixtures, and About Saving Heat showing insulation and air sealing.
Clean energy businesses interested in sponsoring the expo or participating as a vendor can still reserve a spot. For information, contact CLEER at (970) 704-9200 or Maisa@CleanEnergyEconomy.net.
Energy Coach Hot Tip
LED bulbs: Bright, long-lasting and cost-effective
LED lighting is sweeping the country as bulb prices plummet and variety of bulb designs increase. Energy Coach Shelley Kaup said switching to LEDs delivers instant energy savings and crisp, bright lighting.
“It’s as easy as changing a light bulb,” said Kaup, who recently installed a three-way LED bulb in her own home. “This 21st century LED technology is super efficient and very cool.”
LEDs use 85 percent less energy than the incandescents on today’s market, and last 25 times longer. And prices for bulbs have dropped significantly, from $12 to $15 per bulb of a few years ago to around $7 today.
“In a fixture used for three hours a day, one LED bulb will last for 20 years. Buying the bulb and the electricity to run it will cost about $40. In that same 20-year period, you’d use 22 incandescent bulbs, and you would spend a total of $270 on replacement bulbs and the energy to run them,” Kaup said.
“LED bulbs have a higher purchase cost, but they will pay for themselves in about two years, and the savings is all yours after then,” she said.
LED bulbs emit very little heat, so they work well in recessed or enclosed fixtures. They perform well in cold temperatures outdoors, and turn on instantly with no warm-up period.
The bulbs come in a variety of colors. For a warm and cozy feeling, look for bulbs with a “warm” light appearance, with a 2700 K rating. For lighting that is closer to daylight, in workshops, sewing rooms, offices or the garage, look for “cool” light appearance in the 4000 K to 5000 K range.
Many LED bulbs are dimmable, and they contain no mercury.
Many electric utilities offer rebates or in-store discounts for LED bulbs. Visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org to learn more.
Download the 2-page Right Light Guide published by Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams to learn how to buy the light that fits your needs.
Report calls for more fast-charging stations,
applying tax credits at time of sale
A new study from the Colorado Energy Office says the 3,100 electric vehicles licensed in the state are already improving air quality and reducing energy consumption.
The Colorado EV Market Study polled Colorado residents on their views. Of those responding, 68% have a favorable view of electric vehicles.
Colorado Mountain College installed a Level II charge station at the Lappala Center in Carbondale.
Analysis from the study shows that driving an EV in Colorado can reduce fuel costs by more than $1,000 per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 37 percent compared to the typical gasoline light-duty car on the road today.
Taking advantage of these benefits, Colorado drivers and fleets purchased 1,513 EVs in 2013, up from 795 vehicles in 2012.
Three potential growth scenarios highlighted in the study indicate that future EV sales could possibly reach 937,216 EVs on Colorado’s roads by 2030.
The growth scenarios depend on market demand and on state policies that provide incentives for vehicles and charging stations and reduce “range anxiety” for drivers.
Colorado offers some of the best tax credits for EV purchases in the country, providing up to $6,000 per passenger car. The study recommends simplifying these tax credits, potentially by making them function as point-of-sale incentives. (Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 also apply.)
Colorado also uses revenues from annual EV registration stickers to fund a statewide grant program for public-access EV charging stations. Charge Ahead Colorado has funded nearly 150 charging stations. EV registration revenues are split 50-50 between the grant program and state highway improvement projects.
And the Refuel Colorado Fleets program, managed by CLEER for the Colorado Energy Office, provides free energy coaching to fleet owners and managers to help them see where plug-in electric vehicles would work in their fleets.
As more fleets and families look to electric vehicles, the need for more public-access fast-charging stations will increase. The report recommends that Charge Ahead provide higher funding for Level III fast-chargers, which can deliver 60 to 80 miles of driving range in approximately 20 minutes of charging. The more common Level II chargers deliver 10-20 miles of driving range per hour of charging, and are better for locations where EV drivers are likely to spend more time, such as shopping areas, recreation centers and trailheads.
In response, the Colorado Energy Office has announced higher grant award for Level III fast chargers. Charge Ahead Colorado will now fund up to $16,000 for Level III chargers that incorporate both the CHAdeMO and SAE standards, and $13,000 for chargers that can only accommodate one of the two standards.
Charge Ahead Colorado will continue to provide up to $6,260 for dual-cord Level II chargers and up to $3,260 for single-cord Level II chargers.
The next opportunity for charging station grant funding closes on March 9, 2015. Program and application details can be found here.
RELATED: Kansas City Power & Light to install 1,001 EV chargers
The Kansas City Star reports that an electric utility serving portions of Kansas and Missouri plans to install 1,001 dual-plug public electric chargers in 2015 — a 2,400 percent boost from the roughly 40 units now available. It will cost about $20 million to build the Clean Charge Network. KCP&L will ask state regulators to let it to recover the cost through its rates. If regulators agree, residential customers would pay an extra $1 to $2 a year.
In this issue
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Photo courtesy North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
Colorado Energy Office program
seeking wider use of its Energy Savings Mortgage Program
CLEER’s collaboration with the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors and the Colorado Energy Office resulted in a successful workshop for 19 real estate professionals held Feb. 11. A second workshop, co-hosted with CORE, was held in Aspen on Feb. 12.
“The workshop provided training for real estate brokers, agents and lenders to understand how to use the state’s Energy Savings Mortgage Program. It’s a mortgage booster that’s not yet getting a lot of use, especially on the Western Slope,” said Shelley Kaup, CLEER Energy Coach.
The program provides up to $6,000 for homebuyers to carry out energy efficiency upgrades right after buying an existing home, or up to $8,000 when purchasing a new home that’s rated as net-zero.
Workshop presenter was James Mitchell, owner of Renewablue, a Fort Collins real estate company that also provides home energy upgrades for buyers and sellers. He explained the details of how the mortgage incentive works for new and existing homes.
The February workshops were the second in a series of four training sessions to help local real estate professionals and lenders use the value of energy efficient homes as a selling point.
For information, contact the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors at 945-9762 or Energy Coach Shelley Kaup at 704-9200.
Home weatherization program manager recognized for technical expertise
Steve Getz, energy management director for the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, has been appointed to the Building Performance Institute’s national Single Family Standards Technical Committee.
The Summit County resident has worked for NWCCOG for 26 years in its home weatherization program, and been involved in the energy efficiency and renewable energy fields for 35 years.
BPI’s nationwide search identified Getz for one of 20 positions on the standards committee, a group of industry experts responsible for the scope, development, approval, revision, maintenance, and official interpretations of BPI Standards.
“NW COG’s member counties and municipalities are very serious about energy efficiency,” said NWCCOG Board Chair Karn Stiegelmeier, a Summit County commissioner. “The energy efficiency interests of our region will be well represented by Steve. His appointment to the technical committee recognizes his prominence and national stature in the home energy performance industry.”
Jeffrey Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office, said, "Steve Getz's appointment to this committee will add great value to the residential energy retrofit industry as a whole and to Colorado specifically. Having known Steve and his work in the weatherization field for more than 30 years, I know he offers a depth of technical expertise and breadth of in-the-field experience that will serve the committee well."
Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) is a voluntary association of county and municipal governments working together on a regional basis. NWCCOG serves 26 member jurisdictions in a five-county region of northwest Colorado. The agency also extends its free home weatherization services into Garfield County. Click here for more information.
The Building Performance Institute is a nationwide organization that develops standards for energy efficiency retrofit work. BPI develops professional certifications for individuals, company-wide credentials for BPI GoldStar Contractors, home energy rating systems, and quality assurance services that help raise the bar in home energy performance contracting.