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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

March 31, 2016, Vol. 9, No. 2

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RIDE Garfield 2016 to roll for five months

Team challenge, local events aim to ‘make a habit’ of biking, bus riding

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

RIDE Garfield County

RIDE Garfield County is back in action for 2016, with a five-month Team Challenge competition for biking and bus riding for county residents of all ages, along with bicycle events from Parachute to Carbondale.

RIDE Garfield runs from May 1 through Sept. 30, and riders are encouraged to register during April to be ready for the May 1 start date for the Team Challenge.

Riders can compete individually and in teams by logging their miles for bicycling and for riding RFTA buses.

“This fun, countywide competition and the local events will help people make a habit of bike-riding and bus-riding, for commuting and for recreation,” said Jason White, board member of Garfield Clean Energy and a planner for RFTA.

“And there will be prizes for teams and individual riders who tally top bike and bus miles,” White said.

By running for a five-month period, RIDE Garfield County is also aimed at helping ease traffic congestion in Glenwood Springs during the Grand Avenue Bridge replacement project.

“The bridge project is already affecting traffic flow,” said Dave Betley, assistant public works director for the City of Glenwood Springs. “We want to encourage people to use RIDE Garfield County to try out different ways of getting around, which can help minimize the impacts of construction.”

“We encourage employers throughout Garfield County, particularly those affected by the bridge construction, to register teams to participate,” said event organizer Karen Wahrmund of Garfield Clean Energy. “Workplace teams that use bikes or the bus for getting to work can help mitigate congestion and ease commuting challenges.”

Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER are the organizers for RIDE Garfield County, and the online Team Challenge is hosted on the National Bike Challenge website.

Other sponsors include RFTA, Garfield County Libraries, the City of Glenwood Springs, LiveWell Garfield County, Carbondale Area Chamber of Commerce, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, Parachute - Battlement Mesa Area Chamber of Commerce and the Parachute Battlement Mesa Trail Group.

Additional sponsors are welcome to help with local events and prizes.

Local events that promote bicycling are a key part of RIDE Garfield County.

“The RIDE Garfield schedule already has 13 local events, including National Bike to School Day on May 4, bike rodeos, bike-in breakfast stations for National and Colorado Bike to Work Days, Bonedale Bike Week, a bike tune-up clinic, Ride for the Child and the Rifle Triathlon,” said Wahrmund.

An advance event is this Saturday morning, April 2, when Battle On The Mesa offers a 5K run, a 1.5-mile Family Fun Run or Bike, and a time-trial bicycle Hill Climb for teens and adults, all at Battlement Mesa. Registration includes a free T-shirt and refreshments. For details, visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org .

Register in April for Team Challenge

Everyone in Garfield County is encouraged to register during April for the RIDE Garfield Team Challenge. Once riders register on the National Bike Challenge website, they can log their bike-riding miles on the site and build points for their team.

Riders and teams can also log their miles for riding RFTA buses. From the Garfield Clean Energy website, bus riders can download an Excel spreadsheet to keep a tally on their computer, or download a PDF that can be printed out to keep a tally on paper.

For the bicycling Team Challenge on the National Bike Challenge website, registered riders can form a team as a workplace, a school or as a league, which can be any group of riders other than a workplace or school. Each rider can be a member of just one team.

The National Bike Challenge website allows riders to log miles directly, or by using apps such as Facebook, Strava, MapMyRide or Endomondo. All outdoor riding for any purpose can be counted toward the Team Challenge.

Riders can start logging miles in April to get familiar with the system. All the numbers will re-set to zero on the morning of May 1, and the five-month competition will officially start that day.

“Be sure to count your bus miles,” advised RFTA’s Jason White. “It will make a big difference in building your team’s score, and in helping our communities ease traffic congestion.”

Team Holy Cross

Holy Cross Energy’s team of 10 riders won the Ride Garfield County Team Challenge, riding 1,037 miles during the Team Challenge period, June 19-26. The team won five RFTA punch passes and bragging rights. From left are Craig Tate, Wes MacCachran, Connie Overton, Farshideh Jahani, Mary Wiener and Steve Casey. Submitted photo.

Team Holy Cross, 2015 winner, ready to compete again

In 2015, RIDE Garfield County was squeezed into nine days. During that time, Wahrmund said, 106 riders participated on 13 teams, logging 4,418 total miles.

“This year, with a five-month event, we’d like to see hundreds of children, teens and adults out riding their bikes and riding the bus,” Wahrmund said. “We believe as a countywide effort, we can hit 80,000 miles of bike riding.”

In 2015, Holy Cross Energy won the Team Challenge, and the electric utility is already enrolled in the Team Challenge for 2016.

“We are excited to participate in this year’s event,” said Mary Wiener, coordinator of Team Holy Cross. “We hope to add miles to our record with the addition of other Holy Cross Energy employees. We encourage area employers, schools and other groups to join us for this fun and healthy competition."

For more information about RIDE Garfield County, including links to get registered for the Team Challenge, the growing schedule of events and a list of sponsors, visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org .

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Ajax Mechanical booth at Contractor Expo

Ken Reeder, left, and Lou Sebald, center, of Ajax Mechanical Services show their HVAC products to John Gorman, right, of Glenwood Springs, during the 2016 Energy Smart Contractor Expo, held March 17, 2016, at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs.

Energy Smart Contractor Expo draws 170
for workshops, product expo

Expo ‘increases our customer base,’ says lighting supplier

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

Building and mechanical contractors networked with sales reps from manufacturers and suppliers of clean energy products during the Energy Smart Contractor Expo, held March 17 in Glenwood Springs.

Comfort by Kodiak booth

Linda Bello, manager of Comfort by Kodiak, discusses high-efficiency heating systems with Garfield County Commissioner John Martin during the Expo.

 

Nordic Refrigeration and Holy Cross Energy booths

Booths were hosted by Nick DeLia and JoeDeLia of Nordic Refrigeration, at left, and Lisa Reed, Mary Wiener and Eileen Wysocki of Holy Cross Energy.

The Expo featured 23 vendor booths, seven workshops for contractors and a class for real estate professionals on the Home Energy Score. It drew 170 participants.

“This event has been great for us to meet more facility managers and other end users of our products,” said Max Rohr of Shamrock Sales. The company distributes high-efficiency boilers and hot water systems to mechanical contractors.

“The Expo has increased our customer base,” said Matt Thesing, owner of One Source Lighting. “It gives us the opportunity to help customers and show our products. The interest in LEDs is amazing, even compared to just three years ago.”

CLEER, Garfield Clean Energy, CORE and Energy Smart Colorado organized the Expo, which was held for the first time at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs.

“CMC’s Blake Avenue building turned out to be a great place to hold the Expo,” said Maisa Metcalf, lead Expo organizer for CLEER. “We had access to large classrooms equipped with current technology for the workshops, and the vendors could spread out on the main floor.”

Exothermo, a building company in Carbondale, brought in big samples of its spray-foam insulation system: the corner of a roof and the corner of a house. Company manager Darek Shapiro eagerly showed how the system creates a super-insulated structure.

Other vendors showed solar electric systems, crawl space and building insulation systems, mechanical systems, refrigeration, heat pumps, high-efficiency lighting and radon mitigation.

Xcel Energy and Holy Cross Energy also hosted booths to update contractors on the energy efficiency and renewable energy programs they offer.

Peter Rusin of the Colorado Energy Office presented a special workshop for real estate professionals on the Home Energy Score, a new tool for marketing residential properties and making energy efficiency a selling point.

Other workshops covered net-zero home design, dense-pack wall insulation, air sealing, lighting controls, heat pumps, ventilation and financing options for solar electric systems.

To view the workshop presentation slide shows, visit the Energy Smart Colorado website.

“We want to say a big thank-you to our event sponsors,” said Metcalf, who organized the Expo with Lucy Kessler, outreach manager for CORE.

"This year's contractor expo was very successful, and it was exciting to see attendees come from across the state,” said Kessler. “The event provides a unique opportunity to support our local workforce, facilitate networking, and further expand energy solutions throughout Colorado."

Gold sponsors for the Expo were Ajax Mechanical Systems, Holy Cross Energy and Xcel Energy.

Silver sponsors were AE Building Systems, All-Phase Electric Supply, City of Aspen Utilities, Aros Solutions, Black Hills Energy, Colorado Energy Office, Energy Smart Colorado, Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors, One Source Lighting, Quality Solar, SoL Energy and Sunsense Solar.

Vendor booths were hosted by Holy Cross Energy, Xcel Energy, City of Aspen Utilities, Glenwood Springs Electric, Ajax Mechanical Services, Aros Solutions, Colorado Crawl Space / SteamMaster, All-Phase Electric Supply, One Source Lighting, Conserve-A-Watt Lighting, EcoSource Lighting, Lunera Lighting, Sunsense Solar, SoL Energy, Quality Solar, EXOthermo / Environmental Architecture, Nordic Refrigeration, Shamrock Sales, Stanton Engineering, Building Performance Contractors, Energy Smart Colorado, Comfort by Kodiak, Mitsubishi Electric US and Westland Distributing.

Expo sponsors


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Legislative Roundup

Legislators address Clean Power Plan, transit, alternative fuels, radon and rain barrels

CLEER is tracking 17 bills moving through the Colorado Legislature that are related to clean energy issues. Updates for the bills are posted on the Garfield Clean Energy website’s Legislative page.

Here are brief summaries of the bills and their current status.

Colorado Climate Action Plan

House Bill 1004 would have required the state’s Climate Action Plan to include specific, measurable goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increase the state’s adaptability to climate change. Killed by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee on March 30.

Colorado’s response to the Federal Clean Power Plan

Senate Bill 46 would have required the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission to seek a two-year extension for its work on a state response to the federal Clean Power Plan. It would also have required the Legislature’s approval before the plan was submitted to the federal government. Killed by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee on March 17.

Senate Bill 157, introduced March 15 by the SB 46 sponsors, calls on the state government to suspend its work on the state Climate Action Plan until the U.S. Supreme Court lifts its stay on the federal Clean Power Plan. Passed in the Senate; now before the House Transportation and Energy Committee.

Renewable Energy

Senate Bill 7 would have created an incentive for utilities to use biomass to generate electricity. Killed by House Transportation and Energy Committee on March 9.

House Bill 1207 would have required the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) to invest 1 percent of its funds in renewable energy companies. Killed by House Finance Committee on Feb. 24.

Clean Energy Financing

Senate Bill 171 modifies and clarifies the rules governing the New Energy Improvement District, which manages the state’s C-PACE commercial energy efficiency lending program. The bill has passed the Senate Local Government Committee March 29.

Water Conservation

House Bill 1005 is a second-year attempt to legalize residential use of rain barrels for outdoor watering. The bill is awaiting a third reading on the House floor.

Alternative Transportation Fuels

House Bill 1053 calls on the Division of Oil and Public Safety to develop rules governing the retail sales of hydrogen fuel. Passed the Legislature and signed by Gov. Hickenlooper on March 9.

House Bill 1332 is an effort to further simplify the system for awarding state tax credits for purchases of alternative fuel vehicles, including CNG and electric vehicles. The House Finance Committee is considering this bill.

Transit and Transportation Policy

HB 1067 would have extended the time limit for any of the state’s five regional transportation authorities, including RFTA, to seek voter approval to impose a property tax mill levy. The authority expires in 2019; the bill would have extended the deadline to 2029. Killed by Senate Transportation Committee March 8.

SB 11 would have barred CDOT’s use use of state FASTER funds for transit projects, such as the popular Bustang service. Killed by House Transportation and Energy Committee Feb. 17.

HB 1303 prohibits regional transportation authorities from imposing sales tax on vacant lands annexed by a nonmember jurisdiction. The House Local Government Committee is considering this bill.

House Bill 1304 calls on CDOT to host community conversations this year on transportation priorities in each of its planning regions, seeking public input on transportation priorities and the preferred means for funding them. The House Transportation and Energy Committee is considering this bill.

Energy Utilities

Senate Bill 55 Clarifies rules for rural electric co-op board elections. Passed the Legislature and signed by Gov. Hickenlooper on March 23.

Senate Bill 61, sponsored by Cooke and Sonnenberg, would require the Public Utilities Commission to create a “ratepayer protection program” so any increased costs to electric utilities to comply with new federal carbon emission standards would not be passed along to customers. Instead, the state’s Stationary Sources Control Fund would cover those costs.

Economic Development

Senate Bill 81, sponsored by Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, creates a $2 million program for the Department of Local Affairs to assist rural communities that experience plant closures or industry-wide layoffs. Under consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Radon Mitigation

House Bill 1141 directs the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop a statewide radon education program for residents, real estate professionals and builders, along with a program to assist low-income households with radon mitigation measures.

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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

RIDE Garfield 2016 to roll for five months

Energy Smart Contractor Expo draws 170 for workshops, product expo

Legislators address Clean Power Plan, transit, alternative fuels, radon and rain barrels

Infrastructure construction groups submit 10 titles for 2016 ballot consideration

DOE to hold 2017 Solar Decathlon in Denver


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 news@cleanenergyeconomy.net


DOE announces solar decathlon

Denver to host DOE’s 2017 Solar Decathlon

16 teams from U.S., Swiss, Dutch universities to compete
for $2 million prize

U.S. DOE Under Secretary for Science and Energy, Dr. Franklin Orr, above, announced on March 11 that Denver will be the host city for the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition in the fall of 2017.

Denver won the bid to host this biennial event, in which student teams compete to design, build, and operate cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar-powered houses.

In the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017, 16 teams will compete in 10 contests, ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance. The teams from across the country and around the world will be competing for $2 million in prize money.

Over the next 18 months, the competing teams will raise funds, design and build their 800-square foot, 100 percent solar-powered houses, and then transport their houses to the Denver competition site near a new development close to Denver International Airport.

The area is positioned to become a national model for sustainable, transit-oriented, greenfield development that can enhance the region’s overall economic competitiveness.

The winner of the competition is the team that best blends aesthetics and modern conveniences with maximum energy production and optimal efficiency.

Visit the DOE Solar Decathlon website.

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Infrastructure construction groups submit 10 titles for 2016 ballot consideration

Bill Ray
WR Communications

The Colorado Contractors Association, Associated General Contractors of Colorado, the Colorado Construction Industry Coalition and Move Colorado announced on March 25 that they have submitted 10 ballot initiatives seeking to address statewide transportation, mobility and safety funding, while ensuring accountability and transparency for taxpayers.

The different ballot initiatives were submitted to keep several options available while additional research and discussions are held in conjunction with the title board process during April. The coalition will ultimately pick one measure for signature collection and inclusion on the 2016 statewide ballot.

“We believe that 2016 will be the year of transportation on the ballot,” said Tony Milo, executive director of the Colorado Contractors Association.

“Through extensive research, stakeholder engagement and statewide outreach, we have learned that Coloradans are concerned about the safety and congestion on our state’s road, highways and bridges—and that they want something done to address those concerns," Milo said.

All measures, except for Version 10, seek to raise about $640 million in the first full year through a Transportation Safety Sales Tax at the rate of 6.2 cents on a $10 purchase subject to the state’s sales and use tax.

The money would be deposited into the Highway Users Trust Fund (HUTF) and would be constitutionally directed for state and local road, bridge and transportation projects that address safety and congestion.

All measures include language to exempt the money from TABOR.

In all versions that include an HUTF distribution to counties and cities, each local agency is permitted under current state law to use the funds for roadway or transit projects.

Version 1 sets a base ballot initiative that only seeks the sales and use tax increase of 6.2 cents on $10 and directs that money to HUTF. This includes a 10 percent allocation to transit from the state’s portion of the funding.

Version 2 sets a base ballot initiative that only seeks the sales and use tax increase of 6.2 cents on $10 and directs that money to HUTF. It requires that during any three-year period the state must expend a portion of the revenues on one or more projects in each of the state’s transportation regions (statewide expenditures) and that the Department of Transportation produce an annual report on how the money was spent (accountability report). This includes a 10 percent allocation to transit from the state’s portion of the funding.

Version 3 uses the base ballot initiative and requires that during any three-year period the state must expend a portion of the revenues on one or more projects in each of the state’s transportation regions (statewide expenditures), that none of the funds can be used for toll roads (tolling prohibition), and that the Department of Transportation produce an annual report on how the money was spent (accountability report). This includes a 10 percent allocation to transit from the state’s portion of the funding.

Version 4 utilizes the base ballot initiative language, includes the three provisions of statewide expenditures, tolling prohibition and accountability report—and adds a 12-year sunset. This includes a 10 percent allocation to transit from the state’s portion of the funding.

Version 5 utilizes the base ballot initiative language, includes the three provisions of statewide expenditures, tolling prohibition and accountability report—and adds a limit of “not more than 3 percent of such revenues may be expended on administration or the hiring of additional departmental employees.” This includes a 10 percent allocation to transit from the state’s portion of the funding. This version includes a 10-year sunset.

Version 6 includes the above components of statewide expenditures, tolling prohibition, accountability report and 3 percent limit—and allows 20 percent of the state’s portion to be used for transit projects. This version includes a 10-year sunset.

Version 7 utilizes the base ballot initiative language but excludes transit projects as an allowable use of the state’s share of the new revenue.

Version 8 utilizes the base ballot initiative language—including components of statewide expenditures, tolling prohibition and accountability report—but excludes transit projects as an allowable use of the state’s share of the new revenue.

Version 9 utilizes the base ballot initiative language, includes the three provisions of statewide expenditures, tolling prohibition and accountability report—and adds a 12-year sunset. This version excludes transit projects as an allowable use of the state’s share of the new revenue.

Version 10 sets a state-only Transportation Safety Sales Tax at a rate of 3 cents on a $10 purchase subject to the state’s sales and use tax. This measure would raise more than $300 million in its first year. The money would be deposited into the Highway Users Trust Fund and would be constitutionally directed for the state to use for road, bridge, highway and transportation projects that address safety and congestion.