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By September 26, 2018December 17th, 2018No Comments

Save the date: Building(s) for a Sustainable Future

Given that nearly half of all energy in the U.S. is used by the building sector, it will take a major shift in how we design, build and operate buildings in order to meet clean energy targets.

Internationally recognized architect Ed Mazria, a global leader on reducing energy use in the buildings sector, will address this challenge as the featured speaker at Building(s) for a Sustainable Future, a symposium on May 18 in Carbondale.


Presented by CLEER, Garfield Clean Energy and CORE, the symposium will focus on how our region and state can accelerate progress on innovative, sustainable building practices.

Additional sponsors for the symposium are welcome. The sponsorship deadline is this Friday, April 6.

Mazria is the founder of Architecture 2030, a think tank working to transform the building sector from being a major source of greenhouse gas emissions to being a key part of the solution.

In 2010, Mazria issued the groundbreaking 2030 Challenge, which calls for all new buildings, developments and major renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. It is in use by 462 AIA-member architecture firms practicing in the U.S.

Working with international climate policy leaders, Mazria drafted the “Roadmap to Zero Emissions” and the “2050 Imperative” for the United Nations and the OECD. This framework, endorsed by professional organizations representing more than 1.3 million architects in 124 countries, aims to phase out carbon emissions from all buildings by 2050.

The Building(s) for a Sustainable Future symposium gives the Colorado audience a chance to hear Ed Mazria’s compelling vision and plan for achieving net-zero in the buildings sector.

The symposium is for architects, builders, designers, real estate professionals, lenders, community leaders, and state and local government officials, offering a day filled with inspiring, information-packed presentations, dialogue and break-out sessions.

Building(s) for a Sustainable Future is set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at the solar-powered Third Street Center in Carbondale. Registration is open with early bird tickets at $45, including breakfast and lunch. A reception will follow at the Marble Distillery.

Other announced speakers include Shanti Pless, LEED AP, a senior research engineer with the buildings program at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Kelly Vaughn, buildings program marketing director for Rocky Mountain Institute.

Sponsors for this event are Town of Carbondale, Alpine Bank, Marble Distilling Co., Third Street Center, A&E Systems, the Roaring Fork Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Carbondale Area Chamber of Commerce and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Ed Mazria’s compelling vision and plan for achieving net-zero in the buildings sector.

Click here to register.

Seniors benefit from home energy improvements

When winter winds blow and temperatures drop, seniors living in drafty homes feel the chill and pay the bills for the season’s high utility costs.

The CARE program helps income-qualified seniors beat the cold with free or discounted home energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, air sealing, windows, refrigerators and other improvements.


“They sealed this house up like you can’t believe,” said Garry Evenson, 81, of Battlement Mesa, describing work done by Building Performance Contractors. “They did a fantastic job, and I really appreciate it.”

In Rifle, a furnace tune-up and air sealing reduced Bessie Burr’s utility bill by $20 a month.

“They took care of all the cracks around my windows,” said Burr, 85, and she noticed a big difference during the heat of summer. “I didn’t even turn on my air conditioning last summer.”

CARE is a regional program of Energy Outreach Colorado that originated in Garfield County in 2015. Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER deliver CARE services locally, with additional funding from Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy, Black Hills Energy, Glenwood Springs Electric and the Town of Carbondale.

“When we can help people reduce their energy bills, their cost of living becomes more affordable,” said Tom Jankovsky, Garfield County’s board member for Garfield Clean Energy. “That’s especially important for seniors living on a fixed income.”

CARE helps income-qualified families of all ages, but it’s evident that seniors have greater needs. Of the 127 households from Parachute to Carbondale helped by CLEER since the program launched in 2015, 32 are senior households.

CLEER estimates these 32 senior households are saving $18,460 per year with lower electric and natural gas bills, an average of $575 per household.

CLEER Energy Coaches Maisa Metcalf and Brandon Jones first make a free home visit, usually installing several LED light bulbs and a low-flow showerhead, and putting a tight insulating wrap on the water heater. They note other needed improvements, and arrange for professional contractors to do those jobs.

“They were very polite and concerned about my house,” said Burr. “They went into every room.”

The coaches also check for health and safety problems. Over the years, the CARE program has repaired improperly venting furnaces, unsafe entryways and broken windows.

At most homes, however, the focus is on energy efficiency improvements, which also make a home more durable and comfortable.

Air sealing and insulation added in January 2017 has made a difference at Jim and Judy Lemon’s home on Morrisania Mesa.

“We do notice the house does not fluctuate in temperature near what it used to. We set the thermostat for 72 and it maintains. Before, it would cool down real fast,” said Jim Lemon, 72. “It’s a lot warmer during the cold season, and not quite so hot in the summer.”

In Silt, Laura Goodwin, 70, had two stubborn windows that wouldn’t close completely. Through CARE, Woodpecker Workshop repaired the windows so they operate properly and keep out the drafts.

Goodwin was also able to buy a new energy efficient refrigerator at a 50 percent discount. “There were some things wrong with the old fridge, so I really appreciated that,” she said.

North of New Castle, where Patricia and Wendell “Kim” Porter rely on a woodstove for heat, CARE provided air sealing, insulation and four new basement windows.

“The house does not take as long to heat up, and it stays warm longer. When we get up in the morning, it’s not freezing cold,” said Patricia Porter, 68. The old windows used to frost up at night, but the new ones stay clear and dry, she noted.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it on our own,” Porter said, and she appreciated getting several projects done at one time. “When you get the whole enchilada, it’s more noticeable. It was an instant change.”

For 2018, 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 seniors and income-qualified families of all ages.

For a single person, the qualifying income is at or less than $39,040 per year. For couples, it’s $44,640. Homeowners and renters are eligible.

To find out more information and how to apply, visit the CARE page on the Garfield Clean Energy website, or contact CLEER at (970) 704-9200 or

Legislators call for 80 percent cut in GHG emissions by 2050, seek climate resiliency

A pair of bills introduced in the state House in mid-March set new goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and call on state and local government to prepare for climate change. They are among six bills in play at the Colorado Legislature related to clean energy subjects.


House Bill 1274 calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. The bill has passed one House committee and awaits a House floor vote. This comes after a Senate committee killed a bill calling on state government to collect greenhouse gas emissions data.

House Bill 1297 sets an interim goal for cutting emissions, calling for a 26 percent reduction by 2025, and sets a goal for electric power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 over 2012 levels.

The bill also requires the Colorado Resiliency and Recovery Office to assess the economic and environmental impacts of climate change under various scenarios and support locally-led climate resilience initiatives.

The first clean energy bill to win approval of both houses, Senate Bill 9, was signed March 22 by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill gives electric utility customers the right to install electric storage batteries and connect them to the utility grid.

In other action, state Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Adams County, made a second run at a bill allowing Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy to spread the costs of investments in electric vehicle charging and compressed natural gas fueling stations across their whole ratepayer base. Introduced March 19, the bill was killed in its first hearing, in the Senate Transportation Committee. A similar bill that Priola introduced in 2017 also failed to win legislative approval.

Legislators have killed five other clean energy bills, including a proposal that would have required builders to offer electric vehicle charging ports as an option in new homes.

To track regular updates on clean energy bills, visit Garfield Clean Energy’s legislative tracker web page.

Volkswagen settlement brings $68m to Colorado for clean transportation

Colorado officials have finalized a plan for distributing $68.7 million in funding for use in the state from the nationwide Clean Air Act settlement with Volkswagen Group of America.


The nationwide settlement ordered Volkswagen to pay more than $2.9 billion after the company admitted to cheating on federal vehicle emissions tests to hide excess air pollution in 580,000 vehicles.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment led the effort to develop a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, which was signed March 22 by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Under the plan, funds will be divided into categories for vehicle replacements, electric vehicle charging and emission-cutting upgrades to diesel engines. The funds will be distributed through various existing grant programs such as ALT Fuels Colorado, Charge Ahead Colorado, and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.

The application processes for the funds are being developed now, and funds are expected to be available by early summer 2018.

The division of funds for Colorado is:

  • $18 million (26%) to replace 400 to 450 trucks, school buses, shuttle buses, railroad freight switchers, airport ground vehicles and heavy-duty forklifts with CNG, electric or propane vehicles.
  • $18 million (26%) to replace transit buses with CNG or electric vehicles, and install electric bus charging equipment.
  • $10.3 million (15%) to install public electric vehicle charging, including a statewide network of EV fast-charge stations.
  • $5 million (7%) for upgrades to reduce emissions from diesel-filed vehicles and diesel-powered engines.
  • $11.7 million (17%) held back as flexible funds that can be added to program areas where demand is greatest.
  • $5.7 million (9%) for administrative costs to manage and distribute the funds.

Download the full Beneficiary Mitigation Plan here (22 pages, 520 KB)

Colorado Energy Office launches statewide residential energy loan

The Colorado Energy Office has launched the Colorado Residential Energy Upgrade (RENU) Loan, a statewide residential program aimed at financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on existing homes.

The RENU Loan program, a partnership between the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and Boulder-based Elevations Credit Union, offers long-term, low-interest rate loans to homeowners across Colorado seeking to improve the efficiency and comfort of their homes.


As program sponsor, CEO authorizes contractors to participate in the Colorado RENU Loan program. Authorized RENU contractors then work directly with homeowners to install eligible energy upgrades, including HVAC systems, insulation and air sealing, windows, lighting, appliances and solar PV.

Elevations Credit Union provides the financing for these projects, with loans ranging from $500 to $35,000 for terms of three to 15 years. Colorado RENU Loans can be used to finance 100 percent of project costs, resulting in no out-of-pocket expenses for a homeowner.

“The residential market presents a significant opportunity to conserve energy, and the Colorado RENU Loan offers a financial tool to help homeowners achieve utility savings and increase the comfort of their homes,” said Jeffrey King, program manager at CEO. “We’re excited to be bringing this loan offering to homeowners across Colorado.”

Elevations Credit Union was selected as the anchor lender for the Colorado RENU Loan program based on its residential energy lending experience in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins.

“As a member-owned, locally focused financial services cooperative, Elevations is committed to the long-term sustainability of Colorado’s communities,” said Ray Lindley, chief lending officer for Elevations Credit Union. “The Colorado RENU Loan program allows us to better achieve that goal by extending the ability to offer our energy lending services throughout the entire state.”

The Colorado RENU Loan program also offers contractors an opportunity to reach new customers and expand their businesses.

“By becoming an authorized RENU contractor, we are now able to offer our customers an easy-to-use, low-interest financing option to install energy-saving upgrades,” said Ryan Donnell, president of NetZero Insulation, one of the first contractors to join the program.

The Colorado RENU Loan program currently has more than 30 authorized contractors servicing more than half of the state’s counties. Of the 30, 12 contractors serve Western Slope communities. Contractors interested in participating in the program can visit to learn about the program and upcoming trainings.

Homeowners looking to finance energy upgrades for their homes can contact a local authorized Colorado RENU Loan contractor by viewing the contractor list here.

For more information about the Colorado RENU Loan program, contact Jeffrey King at (303) 866-2259 or

Mechanical room inside Garfield County Administration Building

Don’t waste heat. Recycle it into power.

By Susan Brodie, Heat is Power Association

The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is reaching out to the oil and gas industry about the potential for using waste heat to generate electricity without emissions.

CEO is working with the Heat is Power Association to inform leaders in the industry about the energy potential, and with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Southwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership to offer free evaluations for potential projects.


Recycled energy — also known as waste heat to power — is a form of clean energy that uses leftover heat from industrial processes to generate electricity with no additional fuel, combustion or emissions. The definition of recycled energy excludes power generated from waste heat produced by systems whose primary purpose is the generation of electricity.

Recycled energy systems capture heat from exhaust stacks or pipes, which would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere, and convert it into electricity.

The industrial sector accounts for 30 percent of U.S. energy consumption, and 20 to 30 percent of that energy is lost as waste heat. If captured, this energy would be worth $20 billion to $60 billion per year.

A report by the Colorado Energy Office estimates there are more than 50 sites in Colorado where recycled energy projects are economically feasible, with the potential to generate more than 100 megawatts of clean energy.

Nearly 40 of these potential sites are oil and gas facilities. Waste heat can be captured and turned into an asset from flares, produced water at wellheads, engines at compressor stations, and process heat at refinery and gas processing operations.

Generating power from waste heat can improve electric service reliability onsite, save facility owners money by offsetting the cost of purchased fuel and electricity, provide power to remote locations, and reduce a company’s carbon footprint and emissions.

Recycled energy is also an eligible energy resource that can help utilities meet Colorado’s renewable energy standard goals.

Does your industrial operation have recycled energy opportunities? Is process heat a big chunk of your business costs? Does your company run compressors and engines, or is it flaring waste gas? Anywhere waste heat exhausts to the atmosphere is a missed opportunity.

Learn more about opportunities to generate power from waste heat for your company’s use or for sale to utilities.

Read the two-page fact sheet, Recycled Energy in the Oil and Gas Industry.

Visit the recycled energy page on the Colorado Energy Office website.

Contact Susan Brodie at the Heat is Power Association:


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