Trish O’Grady of Rifle says her home is more cozy and her utility bills are lower, thanks to energy efficiency upgrades done in 2016. Photo by Kelley Cox
CARE warms up winter for 116 households
Program for income-qualified families now in 22 rural Colorado counties
Clean Energy Economy News
Rifle resident Trish O’Grady applied for Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program because she knew her house, built in 1951, needed insulation.
Above, Trish O’Grady shows off the Energy Star refrigerator she received through the CARE program. It uses far less electricity than her old fridge.
Below, O’Grady’s water heater is tightly wrapped with insulation to use less energy. Maisa Metcalf, CLEER’s Residential Program Manager, has wrapped dozens of water heaters like O’Grady’s for participants in the CARE program.
Photos by Kelley Cox
“I was surprised at how much work they were willing and able to do,” O’Grady said of the work done at her home a year ago. She received a new Energy Star refrigerator, three new windows, a furnace tune-up, attic and crawl space insulation, air sealing, LED light bulbs and a hot water heater blanket.
“My home is much cozier now,” said O’Grady, who has enjoyed a year of lower energy bills thanks to the package of upgrades.
Since CLEER pioneered the CARE program in 2015, it has served 116 households from Carbondale to Parachute, and helped these households save a cumulative $70,000 on their electric and gas bills, according to Maisa Metcalf, CLEER’s Residential Program Manager.
The efficiency measures have resulted in an estimated emissions reduction equal to taking 80 cars off the road, or not burning 400,000 pounds of coal.
The CARE program, administered throughout Garfield County by CLEER, with funding from Energy Outreach Colorado, Garfield Clean Energy and the Town of Carbondale, is available to households that earn 80 percent or less of the county’s area median income. For a family of five, the qualifying income is at or less than $60,240 per year. Homeowners and renters are eligible for CARE.
The program’s goal is to increase a home’s safety and comfort while reducing energy costs by implementing efficiency measures, for no cost to the participants. Leveraging rebates from utility providers, the CARE program provides much more than just insulation and air leakage testing.
Every month, CLEER’s Residential Program Manager Maisa Metcalf visits several CARE households across Garfield County in search of opportunities to help save energy and reduce utility bills. Her expertise as a certified Building Analyst allows her to walk into a building and identify the efficiency of the appliances, windows, lighting, and insulation.
Originally from Brazil, Metcalf received her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies at Colorado Mountain College and has become fluent in both English and Spanish languages, in addition to her native Portuguese.
“It’s a great program,” said Mary Layman, owner of Woodpecker Workshop Inc., a Silt company that has partnered with the CARE Program on more than two dozen projects, mainly window installations and repairs. “Not only do the upgrades save energy and money, but they help people in the community improve their quality of life and their comfort, and that makes people happy.”
“I like the fact that CARE employs local contractors,” said O’Grady. Woodpecker Workshop replaced O’Grady’s old single pane windows with new Energy Star certified double pane windows. “They were very respectful and able to accommodate my busy schedule.”
After the 2015 pilot CARE program in Garfield County proved successful, Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) partnered with other local agencies and utility companies to expand the program. It now serves 22 Colorado counties in Colorado, in mostly rural areas, including neighboring Pitkin and Eagle counties.
For 2017, CLEER received another grant from EOC, and Garfield Clean Energy has committed matching funds, making it possible for the CARE program to serve more Garfield County residents.
Most people are excited about the big-ticket items like refrigerators, windows, and air sealing, but even simple changes can help households save energy.
“So far, we’ve installed over 500 LED light bulbs in CARE households across Garfield County, which is like taking 3.5 cars off the road for a year,” said Metcalf. “It all adds up to make a significant difference both in our natural environment and in the lives of the people we serve.”
Tri-county partners launch regional
electric car purchase program
Electric Vehicle Sales Event: REV Up Your Ride to run April 1 to June 30
Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER and nine partners this week launched the first phase of a program to provide a special deal for electric car buyers. The aim is for local auto dealers to offer discounted pricing on electric vehicles for a 90-day period starting April 1.
“Garfield Clean Energy rolled out a request for proposals on Monday, asking auto dealers serving Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties to participate,” said Stuart McArthur, GCE chair and Parachute town administrator. “We hope to receive proposals from many dealers, since so many auto manufacturers are now producing plug-in electric vehicles.”
The program is called “Electric Vehicle Sales Event: REV Up Your Ride.” The sales event is planned to run from April 1 to June 30, and will be promoted in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties.
Garfield Clean Energy is working on the project with Refuel Colorado Fleets, a statewide program that promotes alternative transportation fuels such as electricity and compressed natural gas. CLEER staffers Heather McGregor and Matt Shmigelsky are coordinating the effort.
Other partners in the Electric Vehicle Sales Event are CORE, City of Aspen, City of Glenwood Springs, Eagle County, Town of Vail, Town of Avon, Holy Cross Energy, Garfield County Public Health and Walking Mountains Science Center.
“We watched very successful electric vehicle purchase programs happen in Boulder and Fort Collins in 2015 and 2016,” said Matt Shmigelsky, an energy and alternative fuels advisor with CLEER. “This idea offers tremendous potential in this region to boost electric car sales and get more of these clean-burning vehicles on the road.”
Electric vehicles generate about 40 percent less carbon emissions than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They are also less costly to operate, with reduced maintenance needs and fuel that costs the equivalent of about $1.10 per gallon.
“We expect a robust response from auto dealers that serve Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties. We’ve already seen a lot of interest in the concept,” Shmigelsky said.
The program is expected to offer limited-time discounts for both plug-in electric vehicles, which can also run for longer distances on a gasoline engine, and battery electric vehicles, which operate solely on electricity.
Auto dealers have until Feb. 23 to submit their proposals. Garfield Clean Energy will announce the full list of participating dealers and the automobiles on offer in mid-March.
CEO grants for EV charge stations offered through Feb. 23
Funding covers 80% of costs for businesses, governments, nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, multi-family housing
The Colorado Energy Office Charge Ahead grant program is accepting applications through Feb. 23 for installation of electric vehicle charging equipment. The grant covers 80 percent of installation costs up to specified dollar amounts for Level 1, 2 and 3 charge stations.
Eligible entities include businesses, local, state and federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, transit agencies, and multi-family apartment buildings and homeowners’ associations.
All funded EV charge stations are now required to be networked, and Charge Ahead grants can be used to replace non-networked units. Projects funded in the February grant cycle must be completed by June 30.
Charge Ahead grants are offered four times per year. The next application round is May 15 to June 15.
Through its work with Refuel Colorado Fleets, CLEER offers free coaching for Western Slope organizations interested in applying for the Charge Ahead grant. Contact CLEER at (970) 704-9200 or matt@CleanEnergyEconomy.net.
Glenwood Springs Electric suspends solar PV rebates
Power wholesaler would charge city utility extra for new grid-tied solar
Glenwood Springs Electric is suspending its rebate program for grid-tied solar electric systems, citing new charges for solar systems being imposed by the city’s power wholesaler.
In a statement issued this week, the municipal electric utility called the suspension of rebates “a difficult decision.”
“Glenwood Springs Electric purchases its wholesale power from the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), and MEAN has decided to implement a charge to its customers for all new solar added to their grids. This additional charge leaves the city utility with some unknowns as we go into 2017,” the city statement said.
The city staff will be working with CLEER and other consultants this year on long-term electric utility planning, the statement noted.
Glenwood Springs Electric customers can continue to offset the cost of installing a grid-tied solar electric system by applying for a rebate from CORE of $1 per watt up to $3,000, and by applying for the federal tax credit of 30 percent.
The city utility offered rebates for solar electric systems for eight years, from 2009 through 2016, resulting in commercial and residential systems capable of generating a total of 475 kilowatts.
Anyone with comments or questions about the suspension of the Glenwood Springs Electric solar rebates is welcome to contact CLEER at (970) 704-9200.
Report: Energy efficiency work is supporting
1.9 million U.S. jobs
Efficiency shown to be largest industry in clean energy economy
A new report shows energy efficiency efforts are supporting at least 1.9 million U.S. jobs across the U.S.
In December, E4TheFuture and Environmental Entrepreneurs released a study, “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America,” that offers a data-driven report on what can be a difficult job sector to quantify.
Using a methodology similar to the one the government uses to produce its official statistics, the researchers found that about 1.9 million people worked full- or part-time on energy efficiency last year. They found that total was set to increase by almost a quarter of a million this year, making energy efficiency the largest industry in the clean energy economy.
Energy efficiency work employs about twice as many workers as the auto industry (including auto parts manufacturers), and almost 10 times as many workers as the oil and gas extraction industry. It's a big number. Read more.
Many thanks to
Holy Cross Energy
and CLEER contributors. Your support makes this work possible.
In this issue
IN THE NEWS
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Clean Energy Economy News
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Final Xcel Partners in Energy Workshop Feb. 16
The fourth and final Xcel Partners in Energy Stakeholders Workshop will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Castle Community Center.
The countywide Partners in Energy plan for increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy for Garfield County will be presented and discussed, as well as implementation strategies and keys to success.
C-PACE training for contractors March 10
New financing mechanism available for energy, water efficiency projects on commercial properties
A free half-day training workshop for contractors to learn about the new C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing mechanism is set for Friday, March 10 in Glenwood Springs.
This half-day workshop (along with an application) is required for contractors to become registered with C-PACE and to develop C-PACE financed projects.
It’s hosted by the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Colorado C-PACE, Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER.
The workshop will be held at Colorado Mountain College, 1402 Blake Ave., Room 301, in Glenwood Springs. Registration, networking and refreshments start at 8:30 a.m., the training workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon.
C-PACE financing allows owners of commercial property, including multi-family housing, to make energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to their property. Financing for the projects comes from participating lenders, and the loan is repaid through an annual assessment on the owner’s county property tax bill.
The repayment can be extended over a 20-year period, and the energy and water cost savings are typically more than the annual assessment, generating immediate cash flow. Technical and financial projects for each project must be confirmed by an independent third party.
At the workshop, C-PACE experts will help contractors identify eligible projects, and prepare a proposal for an optimized project that includes C-PACE financing benefits.
“Join us on March 10 to put C-PACE financing in your tool bag, and start developing projects as a registered C-PACE contractor,” said Tracy Phillips, director of the C-PACE program.
Garfield EAB presents talk by seismic expert Feb. 2
Learn about injection wells, seismic review and recent earthquakes in New Castle
The Garfield County Energy Advisory Board is hosting an educational presentation by seismic expert Stuart Ellsworth, engineering manager for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, to address injection wells and recent earthquakes in the New Castle area.
The EAB hosts monthly meetings with educational presentations from experts on issues related to oil and gas development.
The meeting is set for Thursday, Feb. 2, at the new Garfield County Administration Building in Rifle, 195 West 14th St., second floor meeting room. Dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. for all attendees and the meeting begins at 6 p.m.
Ellsworth will review the Oil and Gas Commission's EPA-delegated underground waste injection program and the Commission’s induced seismicity review protocols. His presentation will also provide an overview of how the Commission permits and monitors injection activity, with comments on the relationship of recent New Castle seismic events and adjacent underground injection activity.
The federal government’s 2017 Fuel Economy Guide is now available online at fueleconomy.gov. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency publish the guide each year to help new car buyers choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets their needs.
For 2017 models, the top three most efficient cars are all electric vehicles: the Hyundai Ioniq, the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Bolt. Click here to see the website’s “Top 10” lists.
The online version of the guide will be updated weekly as additional information is submitted by the auto manufacturers. New and used car buyers can also use the Find-a-Car feature on fueleconomy.gov.
Denver Post, Dec. 21, 2016
The governors of Colorado, Utah and Nevada have committed to working together to build a regional electric vehicle charging network that covers more than 2,000 miles of highway across their three states.
Drivers of conventional cars can pump a few hundred miles worth of fuel in a 10-minute stop at a gas station. When it comes to electric vehicles, a common criticism is that they take too long to charge.
This is where Extreme Fast Charging (XFC) comes in, providing up to 350 kilowatts of power. Although most EV drivers rely primarily on charging at home, an XFC network along highways would enable EVs to become much more common.
GoPro Video: Tour a Wind Turbine
Get an exclusive and entertaining look inside of a wind turbine. Two turbine workers strap GoPros to their heads and guide you as they travel 270 feet up to the top of a turbine at the National Wind Technology Center in eastern Colorado.
Cracking the Myths Behind
Snow and Solar Panels
Solar panels are often thought of having the biggest impact during warm months, but turns out they work just as well in the winter. And DOE scientists are working to develop solar panel materials that do a better job of shedding snow.