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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

November 5, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 8

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Michael and Tracey Langhorne, owners of East Third Street Professional Building in downtown Rifle

Commercial properties in counties that opt in to the new CoPACE program would be eligible for a new means of financing energy and water efficiency upgrades.

Garfield may opt in to statewide
efficiency financing program

CoPACE helps businesses trim energy and water costs

Commercial property owners in Garfield County may have a new low-interest option for financing projects that increase water or energy efficiency and other clean energy improvements in 2016.

The Colorado Energy Office is rolling out its CoPACE program this fall. Counties need to opt in to this statewide program for businesses to take advantage of this new financing option. The Garfield Clean Energy (GCE) board passed a resolution in May urging Garfield County to move forward with this pro-business financing opportunity.

On Oct. 12, Paul Scharfenberger, director of finance for the Colorado Energy Office, presented the CoPACE program to the Garfield Board of County Commissioners, the latest step in GCE’s efforts to bring this financing option to Garfield businesses.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to direct staff to write a resolution for Garfield County to opt in; it’s expected to come back before the board in December or early January.

CoPACE stands for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy. The phrase “property assessed” describes the financing mechanism that places the loan repayment on the property owner’s annual property tax bill paid to the county government.

The program is voluntary. Only those property owners who take out a loan for qualifying water or energy efficiency upgrades will have the loan repayment added to their property tax bill.

Commercial properties, multi-family housing and agricultural operations can all take advantage of CoPACE financing, and renewable energy projects are also eligible.

CoPACE loans use funding from bonds sold by the state to private investors. The county government’s role is solely to add the loan to the property tax statement, collect the annual loan payment and send the payment to the state. A 1% fee paid by borrowers covers the county’s administrative costs.

On Oct. 12, Paul Scharfenberger, director of finance for the Colorado Energy Office, presented the CoPACE program to the Garfield Board of County Commissioners.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to direct staff to write a resolution for Garfield County to opt in; it’s expected to come back before the board in December or early January.

During the Oct. 12 meeting, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said the CoPACE financing would be valuable for economic development, noting that it will help businesses make upgrades, and build demand for energy and water efficiency projects for local contractors.

Read more coverage about CoPACE in Garfield County

The Daily Sentinel, Oct. 14, 2015
GarCo commission thinking green

Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Oct. 15, 2015
GarCo open to state’s energy loan program

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240 families in mountain region will get
energy-saving home upgrades in 2016

Pilot program in Garfield Co. leads to seven-county expansion

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

CLEER has received a $70,000 grant from Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) to continue the successful 2015 Home Energy Program for income-qualified families and seniors in Garfield County in 2016.


Rob Norville

Rob Norville of New Castle shows the new insulation wrapping on his family’s hot water heater, which will help the heater operate on less energy. The 2015 Home Energy Program helped income-qualified households reduce their energy bills.
Photo by Kelley Cox

It’s part of a $335,000 package of grants awarded to CLEER and five other community-based organizations to offer energy upgrades for at least 240 households in a seven-county region, according to Luke Ilderton, director of energy efficiency programs for EOC.

“This is the first time that EOC has implemented an energy upgrade program in the mountain region. CLEER’s 2015 program, carried out with Garfield Clean Energy’s support,  was the pilot,” said Maisa Metcalf, program manager for CLEER.

“Once that success was proven, EOC opened the program to other organizations for 2016,” Metcalf added.

“EOC’s programs in the metro area have kept seniors in their homes, allowed families to better afford their home energy costs, and preserved some of the more affordable rental housing for working families and seniors on fixed incomes,” Ilderton said. “We hope to accomplish the same goals in the mountains, as many mountain communities are faced with the same cost-of-living challenges.”

CLEER will work with EOC to provide training for the other community organizations. The regional program will serve income-qualified families and seniors in Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Lake, Summit, Routt and Moffat counties.

“We are working to establish programs in San Miguel, Montrose and Boulder counties in the near future,” Ilderton noted.

For 2016, CLEER expects to serve 30 to 50 families. CLEER’s 2015 program assisted 41 families, and a year-end grant of $17,000 from EOC has allowed CLEER to assist another 13 families that were on the waiting list.

“We are doing another round of home energy visits to families from Carbondale to Rifle,” said Metcalf. She and CLEER energy consultant Matt Shmigelsky are visiting homes to size up needs for energy efficiency improvements.

During each home visit, they install CFL light bulbs, wrap water heaters with insulating blankets, wrap hot water pipes with foam tubing, and install efficient showerheads and carbon monoxide detectors. They also help residents understand how to read their energy bills and share simple habits that can help save energy.

After the visit, Metcalf coordinates with contractors to carry out other needed upgrades, including insulation, windows, doors, energy efficient water heaters and refrigerators, and tune-ups for furnaces and boilers.

“We are making a difference in people’s lives, while saving energy and helping meet our climate goals,” Metcalf said. “One participant compared our program to winning the lottery.”

Funding for these upgrades is paid in part by EOC and in part by energy utilities Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy and SourceGas. Key support for the home visits and coordinating with contractors also comes from Garfield Clean Energy.

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Trillium CNG fuel pump at Shell West Mart

The Trillium CNG fuel pump is at left on the outer fueling island at the Shell West Mart, 23 Mel Ray Road in West Glenwood Springs.

Grand opening Nov. 6 for Glenwood Springs
CNG fueling station

CNG ‘good for our local economy,’ Jankovsky says

A grand opening of the new Trillium compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at the Shell West Mart in West Glenwood Springs is set for 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.

Everyone is invited to attend the ceremony, witness the ceremonial first fill from the new CNG fuel pump, and kick the tires on CNG trucks in service locally.

“Opening this station means that Glenwood Springs area fleets and drivers can now use natural gas for light-duty and medium-duty trucks,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky.

“Natural gas is important for Garfield County, and using it for transportation is good for our local economy,” Jankovsky added.

The CNG station was installed by Trillium CNG, which built and operates 100 CNG fueling stations across the country. Trillium also installed the CNG fueling facility at RFTA’s Glenwood Maintenance Facility for its fleet of 24 CNG buses and two new Traveler vans.

Grant awards from the Colorado Energy Office, Garfield County and the City of Glenwood Springs covered about half the cost of the $1.2 million project.

The Shell station at 23 Mel Ray Road is owned by Western Petroleum of Glenwood Springs.

The CNG station grand opening is hosted by Garfield Clean Energy, Western Slope CNG Network, Garfield County, City of Glenwood Springs, Colorado Energy Office, Refuel Colorado Fleets, CLEER, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Mountain Chevrolet, Berthod Motors, Western Petroleum and Trillium CNG.

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Glenwood Electric offers 20% bonus rebates

Rebates for commercial efficiency projects between Oct. 15 to Dec. 15

Glenwood Spring Electric is offering two special year-end deals for commercial customers: a bonus 20% rebate for electrical energy efficiency upgrades, and a 25% rebate for LED holiday lights.

The 20 percent rebate bonus applies to electrical energy saving upgrades done between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15.

For commercial customers, energy efficiency is a good investment, and rebates help shorten the payback on your investment. Energy upgrades offer other financial benefits by reducing utility bills, cutting down on maintenance, and can qualify as a deductible business expense. (Be sure to consult your accountant.)

Energy efficiency upgrades also improve the comfort, visibility and performance of your business space, and give your business a cleaner environmental footprint.

20% rebate offer

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 2015 rebate for such upgrades is 25 percent of project costs up to $5,000 per business. The 20% bonus can increase your rebate by up to $1,000 more.

Projects must be completed with invoices dated between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15, 2015.

Holiday lights rebate

LED holiday lights

A separate offer covers 25% of the cost of swapping out functional incandescent holiday light strings for LED strings, up to $10 per string. LED strings use 75 to 80% less energy than old incandescent strings, and deliver a brilliant sparkle that old incandescent bulbs just can’t match.

The holiday light string rebate is a trade-in deal. Buy your new LED light strings, save the receipt and call CLEER to pick up your old strings.

CLEER manages the Glenwood Springs Electric Sustainability Program, which helps commercial and residential customers reduce their electric usage.

CLEER provides 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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Jan and Keith Giezentanner

Glenwood Springs homeowners Jan and Keith Giezentanner installed a heat pump in their home. Read more about their upgrades here.

Heat pumps make cooling, heating affordable

Air-source systems a good solution for all-electric or propane homes

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

Heat pump technology is a high-efficiency option that can heat a home in the winter and keep it cool in the summer. The same technology can also be used for cost-effective hot water heating.

For all-electric homes, and for homes that use propane or wood instead of natural gas, heat pump technology is worth a close look, said Matt Shmigelsky, an energy consultant with Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER.

When properly installed, an air-source heat pump can deliver up to three times more heat energy than the electrical energy it consumes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s because a heat pump moves heat, rather than creating heat from a fuel as combustion heating systems do.

Home heating and cooling

Heat pumps have their limits in super-cold temperatures, but they can deliver warm air at a much lower cost than electric baseboard heating or propane furnaces.

“Homes with high heating costs are prime candidates for heat pumps,” said Shmigelsky.

All-electric homes typically rely on electric baseboard heating systems, also called resistance heating. While these systems can be zoned for temperature control room by room, they are still a costly means of heating and can be a fire hazard.

Today’s air-source heat pump systems resemble conventional air conditioning systems, with a condenser unit located outside the home and a fan unit indoors, typically mounted on the wall or within an existing furnace.

These systems can also be configured to include a resistance heating unit, which kicks on to heat the home when outdoor temperatures drop. Heat pumps operate well down to 20 degrees, and some systems operate as low as 0 degrees F.

For homes with propane or wood heating systems in place, air-source heat pumps can provide low-cost supplemental heating for outdoor temperatures as low as 0 degrees. That limits the use of propane or wood to winter nights when temperatures fall below 0.

The extra advantage to installing an air-source heat pump is that the system can provide cooling in the summer months with no additional installation costs.

“These systems have cost more to install, but some of this added cost can be covered by utility incentives and manufacturer rebates,” said Shmigelsky. “And you get the AC essentially as a freebie.”

Hot water heating

Heat pump water heaters are the new federal standard for electric hot water heating systems of 50 gallons or more. This technology cuts electric usage by more than half compared to old-style electric hot water heaters.

These heaters use heat pump technology to draw heat from the surrounding air to heat  water for domestic uses. Currently available systems also have a backup heating element for instances of intense hot water consumption, such as back-to-back showers.

Although these units cost more, owners typically recoup the higher costs in less than three years.

Air pump hot water heaters are taller than old-style units, and must be installed in a space of at least 700 to 1,000 cubic feet so there is sufficient surrounding air.

“These heaters take advantage of a free commodity. All that ambient heat building up in a kitchen, laundry or mechanical room is available to tap as an energy resource to reduce your hot water heating expense,” said Shmigelsky.

Rebates are available for some air source heat pump space heating and hot water heating systems, and Garfield Clean Energy offers free energy consulting to help homeowners get started on choosing a system. Visit or call CLEER at 704-9200 to learn more.

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Alpine Bank and Holy Cross Energy

Many thanks to Alpine Bank
Holy Cross Energy
and the Ruth Brown Foundation
for their generous gifts to CLEER.

Their support helps make CLEER's work on increasing energy efficiency possible.

In this issue

Garfield may opt in to statewide efficiency financing program

240 families in mountain region will get energy-saving home upgrades in 2016

Grand opening Nov. 6 for
Glenwood Springs CNG fueling station

The Traveler launches 2 CNG vans for seniors

Garfield Clean Energy hosts roundtable for wastewater plant operators

Glenwood Electric offers 20%
bonus rebates

Charge Ahead seeking electric vehicle charge station grant applications

Heat pumps make cooling, heating,
hot water affordable

In the news

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 hosts roundtable for wastewater plant operators

Garfield Clean Energy hosts the third annual Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators’ Roundtable. The free meeting and plant tour is an opportunity for operators throughout the region to discuss plant operations and potential energy savings.

The two-hour roundtable and tour will start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the New Castle Community Center, 423 W. Main St., New Castle. Refreshments will be provided.

Energy consultant Matt Shmigelsky of CLEER will lead a discussion on how wastewater plants in the region are optimizing operations to achieve valuable energy savings. The roundtable setting gives all operators a chance to share their experiences, questions and knowledge.

Wastewater and water treatment plants are typically the highest energy-using facilities for municipalities,” said Shmigelsky. “Plant operators in our region have achieved energy and cost savings of 20 to 40 percent by making operational adjustments, and by tracking daily energy data. These savings make a big difference when budgets are tight.”

The meeting will end with a tour of the New Castle plant led by Plant Technician Daniel Becker.

All wastewater plant operators in the region are invited to attend.

To register online for the free roundtable, visit

For more information, call CLEER at
(970) 704-9200.

Charge Ahead Colorado

Charge Ahead seeking electric vehicle charge station grant applications

Grant covers up to 80% of project costs; deadline is Nov. 30

Businesses, schools, apartment buildings and governmental entities are invited to apply this month for the Charge Ahead Colorado grant, which can pay for up to 80 percent of the cost of electric vehicle charging equipment.

Grant applications are due Nov. 30. For entities in Garfield County, free assistance with writing the grant application is offered by Garfield Clean Energy, using CLEER energy consultants Shelley Kaup and Matt Shmigelsky.

Grants are capped at $3,260 for a single-plug Level 2 charger and $6,260 for a multi-plug Level 2 charger. The caps are $13,000 for a single-plug Level 3 charger, and $16,000 for a multi-plug Level 3.

Level 2 chargers can recharge a typical battery electric car in about four hours, while a Level 3 charger will recharge the battery in about 20 minutes.

Funds for the grant program come from the annual vehicle registration fees paid by electric vehicle owners.

Applying for the grant is a first step. Once the grant is awarded, recipients must conduct a competitive bid process to select a charging equipment installer.

For more info, visit the home page for the Charge Ahead grant program, or contact CLEER at 704-9200.

The Traveler launches two CNG vans for seniors

New vans part of RFTA’s ongoing fleet transition to CNG

Two new compressed natural gas (CNG) 14-passenger vans are entering service for the Garfield County Senior Program’s Traveler system.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) operates the vans, which provide rides for seniors and disabled travelers in the county.

“This fits into our overall goals, one of which is to support compressed natural gas use in our community,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “These vans use some of the natural gas produced in our community, rather than exporting it,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky.

“In addition, we benefit from less emissions, less volatile pricing, and it’s a way to support the CNG fueling stations in our county. We have already seen how effective CNG has been for RFTA buses,” he added.

Read the whole story.

CNG powered Traveler van

Judy Hughes exits the Traveler van at a Senior Programs meal site. Driver Tucker Thomson assists seniors.


Denver Business Journal, Sept. 24, 2015
More energy efficiency could create jobs, save billions in Colorado, says report

Energy efficiency projects can save billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in Colorado in addition to cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report.

The report comes from the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the Golden-based Energy Efficiency Business Coalition.


Grist, Oct. 12, 2015
This conservative economist makes the case for a carbon tax

N. Gregory Mankiw is, if not a household name, a dorm-room one. His Principles of Economics textbook is the standard for most college intro-to-econ courses, with more than a million copies sold. A professor at Harvard, Mankiw teaches the university’s most popular undergraduate course, Econ. 10.

“I’m in favor of tackling climate change in a way that uses the lightest hand of government as possible. That is, to put a price on carbon and incentivize people to reduce carbon emissions through a variety of different channels, allowing individuals to figure out what’s the best way to do that,” Mankiw says.

“Is it best to drive smaller cars? Is it best to carpool to work? Is it best to move closer to work? Is it best to commit to public transportation?

“There’s lots of different ways to change your carbon footprint. Regulations tell you how you should do that, whereas putting a price on carbon nudges people in the direction of reducing their carbon footprint but allows individuals to decide what’s the best way for them to do that.”


PV Tech, Oct. 13, 2015
Clean Energy Collective to use First Solar modules in Rifle project

Leading PV thin-film producer First Solar has signed a module supply deal with Clean Energy Collective (CEC) for mid-sized community solar projects.

First Solar said that its modules using a special anti-reflective coating (ARC) would be used at a project for Holy Cross Energy at the Garfield County Airport in Rifle along with balance of system components from other suppliers.


Aspen Daily News, Oct. 31, 2015
Schools’ energy savings aid competition effort

Energy-efficiency upgrades at Aspen School District buildings are not only paying dividends on utility bills, but are also helping the city in a national competition that could bring in a $5 million prize.