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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

September 23, 2016, Vol. 9, No. 7

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Glenwood Springs auto dealers show plug-in electric vehicles

Three Glenwood Springs auto dealerships provided plug-in electric vehicles for free test drives during the Glenwood Springs EV Ride and Drive event, held Sept. 13, 2016. From left are Alex Feller of Audi Glenwood Springs with the Audi A3 e-tron, Chet Garling of Glenwood Springs Ford with the Ford Fusion Energi, and Michael Payne, Jeremy Doerr and Travis Campbell, all of Mountain Chevrolet, with two Chevrolet Volts.
Photo by Heather McGregor

Glenwood Springs, Aspen interest sparked
by electric vehicle events

CLEER, auto dealers and community partners celebrate
National Drive Electric Week

CLEER and Garfield Clean Energy teamed up with three Glenwood Springs auto dealerships, Refuel Colorado Fleets and community partners to present electric vehicle events in Aspen and Glenwood Springs to celebrate National Drive Electric Week.

The Aspen EV Viewing was one of several educational displays at the Aspen Community Picnic, hosted by the City of Aspen on Sept. 11. It featured plug-in EVs from Audi Glenwood Springs, Mountain Chevrolet and Glenwood Springs Ford, along with Pitkin County’s Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Model X owned by an Aspen resident.

In Glenwood Springs, CLEER co-hosted an EV ride and drive and educational table on Sept. 13 at the Glenwood Downtown Market. CLEER and Garfield Clean Energy partnered with the three Glenwood Springs auto dealerships, the City of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County Environmental Health, the White River National Forest and community volunteers. The event gave drivers a chance to learn about and test-drive the newest in automobile technology.

In spite of cool temperatures and dark storm clouds, the Glenwood Springs event gave 31 people a chance to drive or ride in a plug-in electric vehicle, and to check out five privately-owned EVs.

Two CLEER staff members brought their EVs. Matt Shmigelsky showed off his Nissan Leaf, and Shelley Kaup showed her Ford C-Max Energi. White River National Forest staff showed the agency’s Ford C-Max, Frank Nadell showed his Chevy Volt, and Craig Farnum showed his Tesla Model S.

The two events were among more than 230 Drive Electric Week events held in the U.S. and Canada from Sept. 10-18.

On Monday, the Consumer Federation of America released the results of a new survey gauging driver interest in EVs, which shows a rapid uptake in the market as prices fall and range increases. CFA has also updated its free Car Book Guide to Electric Vehicles for the 2016 model year.

Learn what drivers think about EVs | Download the CFA’s Car Book Guide to Electric Vehicles

Education table and vehicles at Glenwood Springs EV Ride & Drive

CLEER staff, three Glenwood Springs auto dealerships, Garfield Clean Energy the City of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County Environmental Health, the White River National Forest and community volunteers worked together to present the 2016 Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive on Sept. 13 in Glenwood Springs, part of National Drive Electric Week.

From left, volunteer Frank Nadell and his Chevy Volt, auto dealers Alex Feller, Michael Payne and Chet Garling, a Nissan Leaf, auto dealers Travis Campbell and Jeremy Doerr, Phi Filerman of CLEER, Tanya Allen of the City of Glenwood Springs, Shelley Kaup and Matt Shmigelsky of CLEER, Sami Dinar and Cindy Thrush of the White River National Forest, and Morgan Hill of Garfield County Environmental Health. The vehicle at right is a Ford C-Max Energi owned by the Forest Service, which installed an EV charge station at the back of the Forest Supervisor's building shown behind the group.
Photo by Heather McGregor

Aspen Community Picnic EV Viewing

John Czechowicz of Aspen, center, shows his Tesla Model X to City of Aspen staff Chris Menges, Mitzi Rapkin and Ryland French during the Aspen Community Picnic on Sept. 11, 2016. An Electric Vehicle Viewing was one of the educational displays at the annual picnic for Aspen residents.
Photo by Laura Armstrong

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Margaret McGhee at her Battlement Mesa home

Margaret McGhee of Battlement Mesa signed up for a CARE home energy visit after learning about the program. “It sounded like a good plan,” she said. “I’m a big one for saving energy and helping the environment.”
Photo by Kelley Cox

CARE delivers home energy savings,
comfort to 35 families

Jankovsky calls program ‘one of the most rewarding’

Allyn Harvey
Clean Energy Economy News

The numbers tell it all.

So far in 2016, 35 homeowners and renters in Garfield County have benefited from CARE, the energy efficiency program for income qualified households.

Margaret McGhee, a retired Battlement Mesa resident who lives on a fixed income, signed up for a CARE home energy visit after learning about the program. CARE stands for Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy.

“It sounded like a good plan,” she said. “I’m a big one for saving energy and helping the environment.”

Participants such as McGhee receive a free home energy visit and whatever energy-saving upgrades their home needs. The improvements include energy efficient LED and CFL light bulbs, programmable thermostats, hot water heater blankets, water pipe insulation, air sealing and insulation. In some cases, residents can receive a new furnace or an Energy Star refrigerator.

All together, the upgrades are expected to save those 35 households a total of $22,247 per year in energy costs — putting money into the pockets of those who need it most.

Most of the labor and product costs for participants are paid for through grants from Garfield Clean Energy, the Town of Carbondale and Energy Outreach Colorado, and supplemented with reimbursements from the four utilities that serve the county: Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy, Glenwood Springs Electric and Black Hills Energy (formerly SourceGas).

“I think it’s one of the most rewarding program of all the ones we do,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “It provides bottom-line dollars back to senior citizens and low-income families.”

Jankovsky is a board member for Garfield Clean Energy, which uses funds committed by its members — Garfield County, all six municipalities in the county, RFTA and Colorado Mountain College — on a range of projects that help make government buildings more energy efficient, support installation of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, and help households and businesses be more energy efficient.

CARE builds on Northwest COG’s weatherization program

CLEER energy coach

CLEER Energy Consultant Maisa Metcalf visits with a Glenwood Springs resident to explain the CARE program.

Now in its second year, the CARE program is proving very successful, helping dozens of households and expanding to neighboring counties in northwest Colorado.

The idea of providing energy efficiency upgrades for low income households isn’t new. The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments has been giving very-low-income families free energy efficiency upgrades for years.

But many families and seniors live on incomes just over the COG’s limits -- too high to qualify for the COG’s Weatherization program, but too low to make upgrades on their own -- and they still struggle to pay their utility bills.

In 2014, CLEER was looking for a way to help these families, and the the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment stepped in with a grant, said Erica Sparhawk, program manager at CLEER. The grant would help low-income households by covering all the costs of labor and supplies for energy upgrades.

CLEER then reached out to Energy Outreach Colorado as a partner. EOC was providing utility bill assistance statewide, and free home energy upgrades in the Denver metro area. EOC jumped on the opportunity to expand the in-home program to rural Colorado.

Garfield Clean Energy stepped forward to fund the energy coaching and project management work, and the Town of Carbondale budgeted additional funding to bring upgrades to more Carbondale residents. The energy utilities serving Garfield County also responded positively, seeing the program as a way to fulfill their own goals for serving low-income customers.

The program launched in February 2015 as the Home Energy Program. By year’s end, 148 homeowners and renters had received energy efficiency upgrades of their homes, including everyone living in the 94-unit Rifle Creek Apartments in Rifle.

In January 2016, the program was re-named as CARE, with funding again provided by Energy Outreach Colorado, Garfield Clean Energy and the Town of Carbondale. EOC also expanded the program to six other counties in northwest Colorado, based on the success in Garfield County.

Light bulbs, new fridge, insulation, furnace tune-up make a difference
for Battlement Mesa senior

New Energy Star refrigerator

A new Energy Star refrigerator is saving electricity for Margaret McGhee of Battlement Mesa. She received the new fridge through the CARE program.
Photo by Kelley Cox

Repaired windows

Windows in Margaret McGhee's Battlement Mesa home weren't closing properly. As part of her CARE energy upgrades, Bob Layman of Woodpecker Workshop repaired the windows so they could be closed tight.
Photo by Kelley Cox


At Margaret McGhee’s home in Battlement Mesa, CLEER energy coach Maisa Metcalf visited to determine what upgrades the home needed to reduce utility bills and increase comfort.

During the visit, Metcalf installed eight LED and 12 CFL light bulbs, which burn significantly less electricity, and low-flow aerators for two sink faucets, cutting down on the amount of water consumed and electricity needed to provide hot water.

Metcalf followed up the visit with a plan for work by contractors for insulation and air sealing, window repair, a furnace tune-up and a new Energy Star refrigerator.

Rich Backe of Energy Efficiency Solutions weather-sealed the windows and doors and installed insulation in the crawl space. Bob Layman of Woodpecker Workshop repaired her windows so they could be closed tight. And Lowe’s of Glenwood Springs installed a new Energy Star fridge and removed her old fridge.

“I have seen a difference in my energy bills already, and they only did the work a few months ago,” said. McGhee.

When Metcalf visits a home, she develops a checklist of possible energy efficiency upgrades. Needs vary widely from home to home, given Garfield County’s mix of housing types.

“Some homes we’re able to come in and do a lot. With mobile homes, we know we can only do so much,” Metcalf said.

While McGhee benefited with lower utility bills, the program helps the local economy too.
Funding from CARE is spent with local contractors and vendors whenever possible. The contractors and vendors providing labor, supplies and appliances include Lowe’s, Climate Control, Ajax Mechanical, EnergyWise Consultants, Woodpecker Workshop and Energy Efficiency Solutions.

In Garfield County, there is still plenty of work to do, even though the two-year program has helped 183 households from Carbondale to Parachute. Of the 20,283 households in Garfield County, more than 30 percent qualify either for the Northwest COG Weatherization or the CARE energy efficiency program, Sparhawk said.

“For seniors or people with disabilities who don’t have the chance to add more income to their bottom line, this work is a real benefit,” said Jankovsky.

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Ride Garfield maintains 9th place
in National Bike Challenge rankings

Local riders log nearly 60,000 miles; awards event planned for October

Ride Garfield County, the five-month countywide campaign for bike and bus riding, is nearing the Sept. 30 finish line, ending a successful competition with 204 local riders logging nearly 60,000 miles since May 1.

“We’ve got just one more week to log our September miles. The competition ends at midnight on Friday, Sept. 30,” said event organizer Karen Wahrmund of CLEER.

Ride Garfield County

Thanks to high participation and lots of miles, Ride Garfield County is holding its 9th place national ranking for a second month for community-based riding in the National Bike Challenge, according to leaderboard results on the NBC website.

“Our original goal was 10,000 miles,” said Wahrmund. “We amped up that goal to 50,000 miles in June, and easily blew past that mark in late August.” As of Sept. 20, the Ride Garfield total mileage was 59,429 miles.

A celebratory awards event is being planned for a date to be determined in October in Glenwood Springs, where trophies will be awarded to the top-mileage individual rider and team, along with fun biking videos and comments from community leaders about the value of cycling for health and for easing traffic congestion.

Ride Garfield County and the National Bike Challenge run from May 1 to Sept. 30. All outdoor cycling miles logged by registered riders count, and additional points stack up every time a rider gets on their bike and logs miles.

Riders compete locally as individuals and as teams, and miles ridden by everyone registered in the Ride Garfield County challenge add together to compete nationally.

As of Sept. 20, the top five riders for Ride Garfield County, all of Glenwood Springs, are:

Eric Kuhn, 3,762 miles
John Currier, 3,311 miles
Patti Holt, 2,789 miles
Steve Hunter, 2,095 miles
John Stephens, 2,029 miles

Most local riders are affiliated with a team. As of Sept. 20, the top five local teams for mileage are:

Colorado River District (CRWCD), 16 riders, 12,598 miles
Team Kiwanis, 14 riders, 11,522 miles
Holy Cross Riders, 16 riders, 8,554 miles
Colorado Mountain College, 11 riders, 7,252 miles
SGM, 32 riders, 5,069 miles

Other registered teams are Nirad and Re Pedaling Partners, Garfield County with Friends and Family, Post Independent Fair and Balanced Riders, Old Slow Guys and a Spunky Girl, Tandem2Some, Energy Resource Center, Garfield County Libraries, Third Street Center and the U.S. Forest Service Aspen-Sopris Ranger District.

The challenge is being tracked on the National Bike Challenge website, where 45,426 riders and hundreds of teams across the country have logged more than 24 million bike-riding miles.

The national leader is Amanda Coker of Zephyr Hills, Fla. She’s ridden 30,564 miles since May 1.

In Colorado, 6,524 riders are participating. The state ranks No. 5 in nation with 1.3 million miles logged as of Sept. 20.

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People lined up for hours on Sept. 12 to take a tour of the Proof Is Possible tiny house, part of a nationwide tour that stopped in Carbondale that day.
Photo by Erica Sparhawk

Proof Is Possible tiny house tour stops in Carbondale

Diagnostic-based home energy efficiency on display in ‘tiny house lab’

Tiny house kitchen

Grace Lunsford shows off the built-in conveniences in her "Proof Is Possible" tiny house.
Photo by Erica Sparhawk

Grace and Corbett Lunsford and their high performance tiny house on wheels spent a day in Carbondale on Sept. 12, offering tours of the tiny house and workshops for homeowners, builders and contractors.

The Florida couple -- along with their infant daughter and two cats -- are on a nine-month “Proof Is Possible” tour of the country, bringing their message of diagnostic-based home energy efficiency to 25 cities.

The Lunsfords are the owners of Building Performance Workshop, and they are taking a living example of an airtight, comfort-controlled #tinylab house on the cross-country tour. After visiting Carbondale, they headed west for stops in California.

In Carbondale, their visit was sponsored by About Saving Heat, a company that provides home energy assessments, insulation, air sealing and energy-efficient cooling solutions from offices in Carbondale, Silverthorne and Denver.

More info about the Lunsfords and their Proof Is Possible Tour

News coverage
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Sept. 13, 2016
Tiny home lab stops in Carbondale

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State’s first commercial PACE project receives financing

Solar array, LED lighting will increase Boulder County business’s
value and lower energy costs

The New Energy Improvement District announced on Wednesday that financing for Colorado's first Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) project is in place for Urban Green Development of Boulder, making it the first in the state to take advantage of the new financing option.

Urban Green Development’s 42,000 square foot commercial and industrial facility will undergo about $320,000 in energy improvement measures, with a loan from Citywide Banks.

C-PACE"The availability of Colorado C-PACE financing was the catalyst that drove our decision to make these important building improvements," said Scott Kiere, chief executive officer of Urban Green Development. "This investment will increase our asset value, lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The total projected savings of 188,082 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year will reduce building operating costs by about 15 percent. The upgrades include a 100 kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic array capable of producing 140,000 kWh each year. New interior and exterior LED lighting will save an additional 48,082 kWh per year.

The New Energy Improvement District (NEID) is managed in collaboration with the Colorado Energy Office and Sustainable Real Estate Solutions.

Paul Scharfenberger, chairman of the district, said "Urban Green Development worked closely with our program administration team to ensure this project was a good fit and would meet the goals of all participants.” Scharfenberger is also director of finance and operations for the Colorado Energy Office.

So far, six Colorado counties have opted in to the commercial PACE program, which allows commercial property owners in those counties to use the financing program. Boulder and Adams County were the first to opt in, followed by Broomfield, Eagle, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties. Several more counties are expected to become involved in Colorado C-PACE by the end of the year.

A free workshop for Colorado contractors, "How C-PACE Financing Can Grow Your Business," is set for Sept. 29 and 30 at the Colorado Energy Office in Denver. To learn more and to register, click here.



Utah property owners benefit with PACE financing

Hunt Electric, an electric planning company, is the first business in Utah to use that state’s new commercial PACE financing program.

The Utah Legislature authorized C-PACE in 2013, and financing has been available since spring 2015.

Hunt upgraded its West Valley City headquarters with a 23-kilowatt solar canopy, a microgrid and an electric vehicle charging station. The upgrades, totaling $100,500, will be repaid in full by Hunt Electric over a 20-year term.

The Utah C-PACE program has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, which
invested $1.5 million in the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development to develop and support the program.

Read more about Utah PACE

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In this issue

Glenwood Springs, Aspen interest sparked by electric vehicle events

CARE delivers home energy savings, comfort to 35 families

Ride Garfield maintains 9th place in National Bike Challenge rankings

Proof Is Possible tiny house tour stops in Carbondale

State’s first commercial PACE project receives financing

Facility managers compare notes on energy efficiency successes


Carbondale to update Climate Action Plan

Partners In Energy stakeholders to set goals for countywide plan


Utah property owners benefit with PACE financing

Student teams compete for six-figure prize money in 2017 Solar Decathalon

Reducing vehicle idling at school helps kids breathe easier

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


Xcel Energy Partners in Energy




Partners In Energy stakeholders to set goals, priorities for countywide plan

Effort involves energy utilities, Garfield Clean Energy members, River District, CLEER

Partners In Energy, Xcel Energy’s program to provide communities in Colorado free services to develop and implement an energy plan, continues in Garfield County with a second meeting for stakeholders.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the New Castle Community Center.

The stakeholders group, formed at a kickoff meeting in August, will begin refining goals, identifying priorities and developing strategies for a plan of action. The idea is to build on the extensive energy efficiency and clean energy programs offered in Garfield County through Garfield Clean Energy and other entities.

Xcel launched the PIE program in 2014 to collaborate with local partners and build a plan tailored to a community. To date, six communities in Colorado -- Louisville, Lafayette, Littleton, Englewood, Jefferson County and Summit County -- and nine in Minnesota have or are participating.

In 2016, Xcel selected Garfield Clean Energy to participate, which means all six towns in Garfield County, the county government, RFTA and Colorado Mountain College have a seat at the table. Other stakeholders are the Colorado River District, the four energy utilities that serve the county, and energy producers from western Garfield County.

Xcel Energy has committed two years to develop the plan and begin implementing it in Garfield County.

Anyone interested in receiving ongoing updates about the planning effort or participating in the stakeholder group can contact CLEER at (970) 704-9200 or

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Carbondale to update
Climate Action Plan

Citizen advisory group to set new goals, create plan of action

Carbondale is updating its 2006 Climate Action Plan with new targets and strategies.

Carbondale Mayor Pro Tem Dan Richardson sent out a letter inviting residents who, over the years, have shown a strong interest in reducing energy use and adopting practices that address climate change, to participate in the updating process.

The first of three workshops will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday Oct. 3, at the Third Street Center. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.

The plan is to create a citizen advisory group that will refine goals, identify priorities and create a plan of action, building on work already under way in Carbondale and throughout the region.

Clean energy and climate action have long been priorities in Carbondale. The updated plan will set new goals for the community.

The Climate Action Plan update is a joint project between the Town of Carbondale, the Carbondale Environmental Board, CLEER and CORE.

For more information, contact Erica Sparhawk with CLEER at or 970-704-9200.

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Facility managers compare notes on energy efficiency successes

Annual roundtable gathering for building managers features Colorado Mountain College Rifle campus

Joe Gugelman, inventor of the GoogMeister 5000 coffee-maker timer and facility manager for the Colorado Mountain College Rifle campus, hosted this year's Facility Managers Roundtable on Sept. 14, where he discussed CMC’s energy efficiency strategies.

The annual roundtable, a chance for government and private sector facility managers to learn about energy efficiency from their peers, is organized by Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER. This year’s roundtable drew facility managers from Aspen, Snowmass, Eagle and Rifle. They gathered at the CMC Rifle campus for a tour and discussion.

Gugelman described his experiences running the Rifle campus, and Nick Kertz, facilities maintenance superintendent for the Town of Snowmass Village, told the group about efficiency upgrades to the snowmelt system at the Base Village resort.

CMC has a college-wide goal of being 100 percent carbon neutral by 2050. With that policy in place, Gugelman and his colleagues at other CMC campuses are taking on more complex projects to maximize energy efficiency and develop renewable energy resources.

For example, the 34,000-square-foot Rifle building is cooled by a 110-ton chiller, which has to be turned on even if just one room needs cooling. With help from the consulting firm Edge Power, CMC is installing a 10-ton staged chiller, which can better match supply and demand when the facility is not fully occupied. This configuration results in drawing far less power and will result in lower utility costs to operate the facility.

On a smaller scale, Gugelman invented a timer system to limit coffee makers to running from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and he has working on limited operation of electric hot water heaters and the school’s pottery kiln to off-peak times of the day. These measures and others reduce the building’s overall energy use and curb its peak demand, which work together to reduce electric bills.

In Snowmass Village, Kertz is modifying the street and sidewalk snowmelt system at Base Village to better match operations with actual weather conditions. Typical large scale snowmelt systems maintain the pavement at an “idle” fixed temperature, near freezing, throughout the winter. They system increases pavement temperature above freezing into “melt mode” when a single in-slab sensor senses snowfall.

Kertz explained that the Snowmass team turns the snowmelt boilers and pumps in the Village completely off when no snowfall is imminent in the forecast.

And with upcoming capital upgrades, Snowmass Village plans to install multiple infrared sensors to better gauge snowfall amounts and match system operations even more efficiently. The town uses CLEER’s Building Energy Navigator to track usage by the hour, day, week, month and year, so Kertz can quickly see whether the system upgrades are making a difference in energy use.

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Student teams compete
for six-figure prize money
in 2017 Solar Decathalon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 student design competition—which challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive—will take place Oct. 5 to 15, 2017, in Denver.
The 14 collegiate teams competing in next year's event will focus on creating high-performance houses that reflect current market conditions, innovative building, and the best in sustainable living.

For the first time, teams are eligible for cash prizes. Each team that finishes the competition will receive $100,000. The third-place finisher will receive $150,000, the second-place finisher will receive $225,000, and the first-place finisher will receive $300,000.

See the Energy Department news release.

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Car idling in carpoool areas near schools creates a breathing hazard for youngsters.

Reducing vehicle idling at school helps kids breathe easier

Kay Kelly
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Waiting in the line of cars to pick up my sons from school each day, I realized that my children and their classmates were walking out into invisible but harmful fumes created by the dozens of idling vehicles outside of their school.

It concerned me, and I wanted to do something about it. That was three years ago, and today I'm happy to report an 85 percent decrease in the amount of carpool-lane idling at my children’s school.

My sons' school, a Jefferson County charter elementary school, decided to accept the Clean Air at School’s: Engines Off challenge for the 2015-2016 academic year as a way to improve the quality of the air in our school zone.

Read how parents changed their car-idling habits to create a healthier environment for their youngsters.

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