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By September 26, 2018December 18th, 2018No Comments

Three shops opt for LED upgrades to save energy

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

Three downtown Glenwood Springs businesses are enjoying lower electric bills and better product lighting after replacing aging fluorescent lights with modern LEDs.

Glenwood Adventure Co.’s shop at 715 Cooper, the Sweet Adventures ice cream shop at 722 Cooper, and the Toad & Co. clothing store at 816 Grand all installed new energy efficient LED lighting in June and July.


“We are using the environment for our business,” said Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Adventure Co., an outdoors guide and outfitting business. “This lighting is better for the environment, so it’s better for our business.”

In the first full month after the upgrade, the Glenwood Adventure Co. shop used 9 percent less electricity compared to the monthly average from the previous year.

Murphy also owns Sweet Adventures across the street. He opted to upgrade the lighting in both buildings, and credits the action to his store manager, Logan Bartek.

“You do it for the long term,” Murphy said of the project. “We hope to be in this space for a long time.”

That said, rebates provided by Glenwood Springs Electric and CORE added together to offset half of Murphy’s project costs. Glenwood Springs Electric provides rebates for a variety of efficiency projects for its customers to reduce demand and control system costs.

With the rebates, the payback for the LED upgrades at the Adventure Co. shop is estimated at less than two years, and about three years at Sweet Adventures.

Lighting supplier OneSource Lighting of Grand Junction lined up the two projects with Bartek. The installation contractor, Green Tech Electrical of Glenwood Springs, completed the lighting change-outs in both stores in less than two days. Green Tech used the existing lighting fixtures at both stores, and simply replaced the old lights with LED tube-style bulbs and ballasts.

“If I’d known it would be this easy, I would have done it years ago,” Murphy said.

He described the new lighting as soft and bright, and said the LED bulbs deliver a steady light, unlike the flickering of the old fluorescents.

Toad & Co. remodel uses efficient lighting from the start

One block away at Toad & Co., owner Jon Zalinski explained his approach to lighting. He purchased the building, which had previously been an attorney’s office and a bookstore, earlier this year.

While remodeling an old storefront at 816 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs for the new Toad & Co. retail clothing store, owner Jon Zalinski opted for sleek LED track lighting. Even the vintage style hanging bulbs over the sales counter, at right, are LEDs.

Zalinski wanted the remodeling to make the ceiling and other off-kilter aspects of the vintage building disappear, putting the focus on eye-level merchandise. Carefully chosen lighting, installed by Green Tech Electrical, has accomplished those goals, he said.

Working with a fairly small space, he used track lighting, mounted on sturdy metal tracks suspended a couple feet below the ceiling. Knowing the high energy usage of halogen lights at Treadz, his store next door, Zalinski went with LEDs from the start.

“We have been providing free energy consulting to Jon for a few years through Garfield Clean Energy, helping plan for projects that will reduce energy use at Treadz,” said Erica Sparhawk, program manager for CLEER, which manages Garfield Clean Energy. “Jon is well aware of the technology that delivers good product lighting while being highly energy efficient.”

Zalinski took care to choose a warm light temperature for the LED bulbs to show accurate color and texture of garments. And the track lights can be tilted or moved to highlight displays that will change over time.

Green Tech installed other types of LED fixtures in the fitting rooms and in the small storeroom at the back of the store.

“I asked the contractor how much power all of this lighting pulls,” Zalinski said, “and he told me it’s about as much as just one of the old fluorescent fixtures.”

Toad and Co.’s lighting upgrade is estimated to deliver a payback in eight years – longer than Murphy’s two projects because Zalinski purchased new lighting fixtures. He too benefitted from rebates provided by Glenwood Springs Electric and CORE, which covered 38 percent of the project cost.

Garfield Clean Energy offers free building walk-throughs for retail stores and other commercial properties across Garfield County. Energy consultants can provide guidance on high-return investments in energy efficiency upgrades that increase comfort and productivity and reduce utility costs.

For information, contact Garfield Clean Energy at 704-9200 or visit .

Free ‘Strategies for Lighting’ workshop
features experts, showroom

Architects, building contractors and property managers are invited to a free workshop on how to use energy efficient lighting technology to deliver high quality lighting to clients.

The workshop, “Strategies for Lighting: Design, Technology & Controls,” features presentations by three lighting design experts and two energy efficiency experts, along with a lighting showroom.


Strategies for Lighting is set for Thursday, Oct. 5, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Third Street Center, 520 S. Third St., in Carbondale. Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER and CORE are the sponsors.

LEDs are a game-changer for lighting in three major ways, which explains why the three scientists who invented LEDs won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

  • Top-rated LEDs generate about 300 lumens of light for each 1 watt of electrical power. Compare that to compact fluorescents (CFL) at 70 lumens per watt, or incandescent bulbs at just 16 lumens per watt.
  • This far lower energy draw makes homes and buildings more efficient, reducing the size for renewable energy systems needed to power the structure (or leaving more juice for charging your electric car).
  • LEDs also last for up to 100,000 hours of “on” time, far greater than the typical 10,000 hours for CFLs and 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs.

At the “Strategies for Lighting” workshop, certified lighting professionals from Aros Solutions, Alpenglow Lighting Design and RMH Group will explain the advantages of LED bulbs and fixtures on the market today. Learn how to use lighting temperature, brightness, fixtures, lighting controls and design to meet client expectations.

Lighting efficiency experts from Holy Cross Energy and from CLEAResult, representing Xcel Energy, will discuss available incentives. These financial incentives make high-efficiency lighting more affordable at the time of purchase, and clients continue to benefit from energy savings in the future.

The workshop also features a lighting showroom, with displays of the latest in energy efficient lighting bulbs and fixtures presented by OneSource Lighting of Grand Junction and Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED) of New Castle.

To RSVP, visit or email .

Appreciation Days reward detour bikers, walkers, transit riders

Oct. 4 event marks halfway point for 95-day bridge detour, Oct. 31 offers bike and ped lights for shorter days

Two early-morning events to show appreciation for the hundreds of people who are bicycling, walking and riding transit buses during the Grand Avenue Bridge Detour are set for Oct. 4 and 31 in Glenwood Springs.

The first Appreciation Day on Wednesday, Oct. 4, marks the halfway point in the 95-day bridge detour.


Cyclists, walkers and transit riders who are on the move from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. will be greeted at three locations in Glenwood Springs: Two Rivers Park, the Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, and the RiverTrail at 23rd and Grand.

Volunteers with Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates and Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club will cheer on cyclists, walkers and transit riders, and hand out grab-and-go fruit snacks, ankle socks from Alpine Bank, and “I Beat the Detour” stickers.

“People of all ages have turned out in impressive numbers to walk, ride their bikes and ride transit buses in order to reduce traffic congestion during the detour,” said Tanya Allen, transportation manager for the City of Glenwood Springs.

“We have a goal of reducing peak-time traffic by 35 percent. The detour is still causing back-ups, but it would be far worse without the daily efforts of hundreds of people who are getting around without using a car,” Allen said. “They deserve our thanks and appreciation.”

A second Appreciation Day is set for Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31, also from 6:30 to 8 a.m. at the same three locations, with volunteers in costume. This event happens right before the switch to Mountain Standard Time, which shifts sunrise and sunset to an hour earlier starting Nov. 5.

The City of Glenwood Springs will be distributing free bicycle headlights and taillights to riders, and pedestrian flashers to walkers, during the Oct. 31 Appreciation Day.

“The days will be getting even shorter in November, and we want cyclists and walkers to ‘see and be seen’ for safety as they travel in the twilight and darkness,” Allen said.

The two Appreciation Days are presented by Garfield Clean Energy and its Ride Garfield County program, the City of Glenwood Springs, RFTA and CLEER.

Appreciation Days are sponsored by Alpine Bank, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, City Market, Valley View Hospital, Colorado Mountain College, Property Shop and SGM.

Mule drinks from a solar stock tank

Holy Cross offers passive solar livestock tanks at discount

During October, Holy Cross Energy is asking livestock owners in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties to join together for the Passive Solar Livestock Tank Sales Event, a group purchase at wholesale prices.

“Through this group purchase, we are able to offer discounts of 9 to 14 percent to all livestock owners,” said Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for Holy Cross Energy.


“Members of Holy Cross Energy also qualify for an additional $300 rebate on these energy saving livestock tanks, knocking the purchase price down by 50 percent or more,” Wiener said.

Customers of Xcel Energy, Glenwood Springs Electric and Aspen Electric may also qualify for rebates offered by the electric utilities or through CORE.

The outdoor tanks, called “SunTanks,” are heated by direct sunlight, and are super-insulated to prevent water from freezing. Made from FDA-approved polyethelene, they have a shatter-proof solar window, all made to withstand daily use.

Livestock can easily push in on the tank cover to take a drink. SunTanks can be filled manually from a hose, or can be plumbed to refill automatically, with a built-in shut-off float that prevents overflow.

“Livestock owners are either paying a lot on their electric bills to heat stock tanks in winter, or they’re breaking up ice with a sledgehammer and shoveling it out of unheated tanks,” said Brandon Jones, an energy consultant with CLEER and Garfield Clean Energy. “These passive solar stock tanks solve either of those problems.”

Carbondale horse owners Rachel Marble and Kevin White discovered the SunTank a couple of years ago. They estimate they are saving about $170 per winter on electric bills after replacing their electric-heated tank with a SunTank.

“Typical livestock tanks are kept above freezing temperatures in the winter months with a 1,000-watt heater that runs up to 12 hours per day,” said Wiener. “This technology saves a lot of energy.”

Marble recommends placing the SunTank in a location that captures as much winter sunlight as possible. Because of the spigot location on her property, her tank gets less sunlight. Even so, she’s only had to thaw it out with a teakettle of hot water a couple of times per season.

Two sizes available for solar stock tanks

Pine Ranch Products of Santa Clara, Utah, makes the SunTanks, which are guaranteed to prevent freezing even in sub-zero temperatures. SunTanks are available in 25- and 42-gallon sizes. Both sizes are 23.5 inches tall.

The 25-gallon model is 23.5 inches wide, 31.5 inches long, weighs 70 pounds, comes in green, blue or red, and is guaranteed to 25 degrees below zero.

The 42-gallon model is 40.5 inches square, weighs 114 pounds, comes in green or blue, and is guaranteed to 50 degrees below zero.

In summer, the SunTank keeps water cool and less prone to algae, and the push-in cover keeps out mosquitoes.

Through the Passive Solar Livestock Tank Sales Event, discount prices are $606 for a 25-gallon manual-fill, $657 for a 25-gallon auto-fill, $715 for a 42-gallon manual-fill, and $747 for a 42-gallon auto-fill. That’s a discount of $62 on the 25-gallon models and $103 on the 42-gallon models.

Holy Cross members are eligible for an additional $300 rebate on any of the four SunTank models, bringing the prices down to $306 for a 25-gallon manual-fill, $357 for a 25-gallon auto-fill, $415 for a 42-gallon manual-fill, and $447 for a 42-gallon auto-fill.

Wiener said the electric co-op has already issued rebates for 15 SunTanks. Holy Cross officials decided to organize a group purchase and offer the discount to all livestock owners in the region because of the significant energy-savings potential.

Holy Cross Energy will also hold a drawing for one free SunTank during Potato Day on Oct. 7 in Carbondale. Look for the Holy Cross float in the Potato Day parade and the booth in Sopris Park to sign up.

The Passive Solar Livestock Tank Sales Event is open to all livestock owners.

For information on rebates for Xcel Energy and Glenwood Springs Electric customers, visit and click on “Farms and Ranches” under the “Commercial” tab.

Tanks must be purchased in advance by sending a check, payable to Holy Cross Energy, no later than Oct. 31.

Orders should state the preferred size of 25 or 42 gallons, the manual or automatic fill option, color choice, and preferred location for pick-up.

Tanks will be delivered in November to Wylaco Supply Co. in Gypsum and to a location to be determined in Carbondale, where customers can pick them up.

Orders should be sent to Holy Cross Energy, Attn: Mary Wiener, P.O. Box 2150, Glenwood Springs, Colo. 81602.

International DOE Solar Decathalon in Denver Oct. 5-15

The biennial Solar Decathlon, an international competition and show of student-powered innovation, will be held in Denver Oct. 5 – 15. Visitors can tour the 10 full-size, solar-powered houses erected on a site in northeast Denver Oct. 5-9 and Oct. 12-15. It’s free.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges student teams from 10 universities to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses.


The winner of the competition is the team that best blends design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency.

This year’s competitors are from Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland, Missouri, Washington and West Virginia in the U.S., along with international teams from the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Visitors touring the Solar Decathlon site can see the latest technologies and materials in energy-efficient design, clean energy technologies, smart home solutions, water conservation measures, electric vehicles and sustainable buildings. Members of the student teams are on-site to talk with visitors about each home’s features.

Open hours:

  • Thursday, Oct. 5, to Sunday, Oct. 8: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 9: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 12 to Sunday, Oct. 15: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


The DOE Solar Decathlon takes place within close walking distance of the 61st & Peña Station, 6045 N. Richfield St., on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail.

The display site is between East 60th and 61st streets, east of North Richfield St. and west of Salida St.

Mount Sopris in summer

Garfield Clean Energy initiates ‘EmPower Your Congregation’ campaign

Starting Oct. 1, CLEER Energy Coach Maisa Metcalf is reaching out to church congregations from Carbondale to Parachute for Garfield Clean Energy’s “EmPower Your Congregation” campaign.

The new campaign will help congregation members be good stewards of creation by reducing energy use in their homes, workplaces and in their church.

“Energy use impacts our planet’s most vulnerable people, creatures and natural resources. Using less energy is one of the best ways to help care for Earth and our fellow beings,” Metcalf said.


In a brief presentation to congregations during the service, Metcalf will explain how congregation members can sign up for free home energy consultations offered by Garfield Clean Energy.

Congregation members can also enroll their church building in the campaign. Garfield Clean Energy will provide a free building energy walk-through, along with advice about efficiency upgrades that reduce energy costs and make church buildings more comfortable.

Metcalf will also host an information table during social time after the service to talk with church members and explain more about “EmPower Your Congregation,” and to give away energy-saving LED light bulbs.

Metcalf starts this Sunday with a presentation at St. Mary of the Crown in Carbondale.

Any church congregation in Garfield County interested in hosting a presentation can contact Metcalf at 970-704-9200 or

Outreach to congregations was an action step identified by stakeholders who participated in the Garfield Clean Energy and Xcel Energy Partners in Energy planning process. CLEER and and Garfield Clean Energy developed the “EmPower Your Congregation” campaign in cooperation with Energy Smart Colorado and Xcel Energy.

Sunsense Solar staff 2017

Solar Power World lists Sunsense Solar in Colorado’s top 10 solar contractor list

Coming off the biggest year ever for U.S. solar installations, Carbondale installer Sunsense Solar is proud to be named one of the top solar contractors in the U.S. by Solar Power World magazine.

Sunsense Solar achieved a rank of 259 out of the top 500 solar companies nationally and is ranked 10th among 219 solar contractors in Colorado.

The Top Solar Contractors list is developed by Solar Power World to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the U.S.


The annual list marks the achievements of U.S. solar developers, subcontractors and installers within the utility, commercial and residential markets.

“From solar hotbeds on the coasts to the up-and-coming Midwest solar market, every installer adding even the smallest solar array to the grid is making a positive impact on our communities,” said Kelly Pickerel, managing editor of Solar Power World. “We’re proud to recognize these companies and their efforts to bring solar power to U.S. homes and businesses.”

The U.S. solar market installed more than 14,700 MW of solar in 2016, nearly doubling the capacity installed in 2015. For the first time ever, solar was ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions brought online throughout the year.

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) predict the cumulative U.S. solar market to nearly triple in size over the next five years. By 2022, the researchers forecast that more than 18,000 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity will be installed annually.

Sunsense Solar employs 24 workers, and installed 2.1 MW of solar in 2016. Since its founding in 1990, the company has installed 12.6 MW of solar.

The company is an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor and provides solar solutions for homeowners, municipalities, counties, school districts and commercial industrial customers. The company has built more than 6.6 MW of capacity in community solar gardens throughout the Western Slope.

“Now in our 28th year of providing solar electric solutions throughout Western Colorado and adjoining states, Sunsense Solar is proud to be recognized for our achievements,” said Scott Ely, owner of Sunsense Solar. “The Sunsense goal is to proactively build a long-term, sustainable business based on quality, consistency, credibility and service to our clients.”

Holy Cross Energy awards $300,000 in energy retrofits grants

Holy Cross Energy has granted $300,000 in matching funds to three local entities through its 2017 Think Efficiency grant for electric efficiency projects.

HCE received 12 requests for funds. The grants are awarded on a first-come basis until funds are used up.


These are the 2017 recipients:

Eagle County School District: $280,000 for an LED lighting upgrade in all buildings.

“We greatly appreciate the funding provided by the Holy Cross Energy grant. This grant will enable the district to expand its sustainability efforts, reduce operating costs and provide an improved educational environment for our students,” said Aaron Sifuentes, director of facilities for the school district.

Avon Center Homeowners Association: $7,878 to replace metal halide lighting in the lodge’s parking garage with LED lighting.

“We were looking into finding a way to modernize our underground parking garage and bring in cleaner, brighter lighting, while conserving energy. The process went smoothly and ended with the outcome we were all hoping for,” said Brian Hejtmanek, general manager of the Lodge, at 100 W. Beaver Creek Blvd.

Town of Avon: $11,497 to upgrade street lights with LED lights.

“The Town of Avon is thrilled to be a recipient of the 2017 Think Efficiency Grant. This grant will go a long way in helping our street lights to become more energy efficient and to position Avon as an environmental steward and green energy leader,” said Justin Hildreth, Avon town engineer.

All three of the projects happened to be LED lighting projects. Exchanging traditional lighting with new highly efficient LED lighting can use up to 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than Edison’s incandescent bulb.

These three projects will save 1.5 million kilowatt hours annually, which is equivalent to changing out 37,368 incandescent bulbs to LED or providing electricity for 156 homes for a year. The combined reduction in energy will save an estimated $135,000 on electric bills.

For more information about Holy Cross Energy’s efficiency initiatives, call Mary Wiener at (970) 947-5432.


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