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According to a recent study, a green building boom is pumping billions into the US economy. By 2018, more than a million jobs and $75.6 billion in wages are expected to be generated by the green building sector, which is outpacing overall construction growth in the nation.
We’re seeing this trend take off right here in the Roaring Fork Valley, where energy efficiency and renewable energy jobs are up for grabs. “There’s big demand for solar installers, insulation companies and weatherization professionals,” says Charlie Eckart, Building Science Coordinator for CORE.
“CORE’s goal is to make it easy for residents to retrofit their homes with lean and clean energy. One way we do that is by developing a qualified workforce in the valley,” he says. “It’s a win-win.”
Individuals with experience in construction or building design are especially well-positioned to take advantage of these job opportunities. For those aspiring to pursue a career in this industry, CORE offers individual grants of $1,000 each for Building Performance Institute or RESNET certification, a requirement for our local energy analysts.
On the hunt for the biggest environmental bang for their buck, last year the Town of Basalt’s Green Team set its sights on an LED streetlight makeover. Within six months, they had the retrofit in the bag and were on the way to saving 61,000 kilowatt hours and more than $7,000 annually. With 50% of the costs covered by rebates from CORE and Holy Cross Energy, the project is estimated to hit payback after a year and a half.
“CORE took us by the hand and showed us how it all worked,” says Boyd Bierbaum, Public Works Director, of the project to replace all 180 of the Town’s metal halide fixtures with “corn cob” LED lamps, so named for their cylindrical shape and kernel-like pattern of lights. The new LEDs use just 14% of the power required by the previous lamps.
“We worked with the Town to provide free technical expertise, offer financial advising and connect them to resources,” says Mona Newtown, Executive Director of CORE. “Partnerships are key to having a big impact — on costs and on carbon.”
One Source Lighting purchased the bulbs and oversaw their installation throughout Basalt, from Old Town to Willits.
Apart from the savings, “the biggest benefit is the standardization of bulbs,” says Bierbaum. “Before we had to carry ten different bulbs [in the trucks]; now it’s just two.” He says this reaps savings on maintenance as well.
The future looks bright for Basalt. CORE also helped the Town identify opportunities for future energy savings, including retrofitting fixtures inside of Town buildings. Stay tuned.
To learn more about CORE’s grants and rebates for businesses, public institutions and nonprofits, and find out how you can benefit from free technical and financial advising on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, contact Grants Manager Marty Treadway at 970.925.9775 ext. 504.
Top 11 Things We Learned During the Aspen Energy Challenge
A race to a cleaner, more energy-efficient future, involving millions of homeowners, more than 100 utilities, 50 communities, and one $5 million-dollar award. That’s the Georgetown University Energy Prize. In 2014, Aspen threw its hat in the ring of the two-year effort (known locally as the Aspen Energy Challenge) along with CORE, Holy Cross and Black Hills Energy. Together, we were determined to help the community save as much energy as possible. Here’s what we discovered along the way.
Cozying up to a crackling fire sounds pretty inviting on these cold, short days. How about chimney fires, air pollution and smoke inhalation hazards? Not so much.
If you use a wood stove or fireplace, it’s key to learn before you burn. Breathing wood smoke may negatively affect your health. To save money and have a safer and healthier home, remember these three tips:
By burning wise, you can reap all the warmth — and none of the cold reality — of your wood fire.
This message has been provided by the Town of Carbondale Environmental Advisory Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.
It used to be if an Aspen High student wanted to shoot hoops in the gym, 28 metal halide fixtures would turn on, flooding the entire 15,000-square foot space with 30,000 watts of power. These lights would remain on all day, unless someone happened to turn them off. The old system — a best practice in its day — was akin to using a blow torch to light a match.
Today the story is different, thanks to a growing partnership with CORE — along with synergy from the City of Aspen and Aspen Skiing Company — that opened the doors to a $125,000 “Think Big” matching grant from Holy Cross Energy.
Nowadays, high-tech occupancy sensors on new individual energy-efficient fixtures identify whether anyone is present in the gym, casting targeted light on the activity area without unnecessarily burning energy when and where it’s not needed. This system — typical of the recent lighting retrofits and automated building controls across Aspen High, Middle and Elementary Schools — saved the District more than $54,000 and half a million kilowatt hours in in electricity, resulting in an annual reduction of 25%. At this rate, most of these 2014 installations are projected to pay for themselves by the end of 2017, and will then start reaping dividends for the District.
“Do that year after year and that’s a teaching position that we can create and maintain in perpetuity, just by changing some light bulbs,” said Assistant Superintendent Tom Heald.
“Thinking big matters,” said Mona Newton, Executive Director of CORE. “By working together, we can achieve massive energy savings, lowering our community’s carbon footprint while providing a roadmap for other big buildings on how to have significant impact. That’s the route to scale.”
CORE’s sights — and educational partnerships — don’t stop at the city limits. When it was time for Aspen Community School to replace their failing schoolhouse in Woody Creek, the charter public school also turned to CORE. Our $152,500 investment in grants funded leading-edge energy technology and design in the new construction, debuting in 2015. Features included:
“With this grant, we moved from an energy-deficient to ‘energy-magnificent’ public campus and we hope this will inspire others to join our cause,” said executive director Skye Skinner.
Back on the Aspen campus, the appetite, and opportunities, for sustainable energy are expanding. Deeper lighting retrofits for the elementary school, highly efficient motors throughout the schools, and solar PV arrays on rooftops are all on the District’s radar.
These upgrades will improve the District’s bottom line while tying into its mission to instill life skills and citizenship in its students.
“We hope students will look at the world in its entirety,” says Heald. “We all have economic and carbon footprints and we need to be mindful of that.”
To learn more about CORE’s grants and rebates for businesses, public institutions and nonprofits, and find out how you can benefit from free technical and financial advising on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, contact Marty Treadway at 970.925.9775 ext. 504.
Feeling powerless about climate change after the election? Here are five things you can do to lower your carbon footprint and change your energy future.
It’s simple. Being more energy efficient means creating less demand on power plants. Which means that taking care of your home or our business by taking these steps isn’t just good for you, it’s also good for the planet.
And knowing that we don’t have to wait for politicians to solve our energy problems is an immediate mood booster.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency
The Mug Shot Contest is back during the month of November, inviting Valley residents to ditch their single-use cups for a chance to win at their favorite coffee shop. Waste Free Roaring Fork, along with 11 local cafes, is hosting the community-wide challenge to raise awareness and reduce disposable cups in the waste stream.
Each week of the month, customers who post a “mug shot” — a photo showing the use of a reusable mug at any local café — to the Waste Free Roaring Fork Facebook page will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to one of the Valley coffee shops participating in the contest, plus a reusable mug. The more you post, the more chances you have to win.
The Mug Shot Contest, which is collaboratively produced by CORE and the City of Aspen, also supports local businesses, including these cafes from Aspen to Carbondale that have signed on to participate:
Since 1994, when CORE was established, Holy Cross Energy has been on board. Not just on the board of directors, where they have made important contributions for 22 years, but also on board with advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Holy Cross Energy has helped CORE bring in new technologies, such as figuring out how to deploy rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the grid when we launched our first solar rebate program. And the energy co-op has shared in the challenges and successes of initiatives such as the Wind Power Program, REMP-leveraged opportunities, and the Somerset methane-to-electricity project. Holy Cross Energy, thank you for standing by our side and helping to shape CORE for more than two decades of partnership.
When Aspen homeowner Erik Skarvan learned of the pervasive mold creeping through his Centennial condo’s exteriors, it was disastrous news. But the mold mitigation work had an unexpected benefit, sparking a conversation with CORE’s Building Science Coordinator, Charlie Eckart, about interior upgrades Erik could make to his home — free of charge for qualifying residents. The result was energy-efficiency improvements for Erik that will continue to pay off down the line.
As part of Energy Smart Colorado’s Income-Qualified program, Erik received a free home energy assessment, Energy Star appliances including a refrigerator, water heater and thermostat, and coaching throughout the process.
“It was really easy and I got guidance all the way through,” says Skarvan. The new fridge alone, which replaced a 20-year-old model, “is functioning better, looks better, is more efficient and just better all around.”
The Income-Qualified program is designed to help residents take control over their utility bills and improve the comfort and safety of their home. Visit the Income-Qualified Program page on CORE’s website to find out if you or someone you know is eligible for this low-income energy-efficiency program.
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