Sarah Gruen

About Sarah Gruen

Sarah Gruen authored this post when she served as CORE's Community Sustainability Manager (2012-2019). For questions on this and other blogposts, please connect with Lara Whitley, Director of Brand + Creative Strategy, at

This Little Box Can Help Your Business Save Big

By |2018-10-29T11:44:53-06:00August 13th, 2018|Blog Feed|

The Annabelle Inn knows that saving energy means saving money.

Business owners looking to improve their energy efficiency often ask one question: which project saves the most money? For Annabelle Inn, the answer was adding variable frequency drives (VFDs) to the hotel’s hot water circulation pumps, a simple move that’s projected to save the hotel almost $2,500 annually.

Most commercial buildings have motor-driven fans and pumps that behave much the same […]

Basalt Cracks the Code

By |2018-07-26T19:28:24-06:00July 13th, 2018|Blog Feed|

We can’t overemphasize the importance of building codes. This dense and complicated set of guidelines on mundane things like insulation and glazing requirements isn’t fun leisure reading. But they are one of the most important tools local governments have to reduce energy use in homes and businesses — and to take action on climate.

With the goal of creating homes that use less fossil fuels while improving the comfort and well-being of inhabitants, CORE contracted with two sustainable building specialists – […]

Ex-Gas Driller Digs Deep for Energy Savings

By |2018-07-02T22:24:48-06:00June 18th, 2018|Blog Feed|

Art Rothman, former oil and gas employee and owner of Red Mountain Inn, explains how harnessing cool ditch water to chill the air conditioners in this guest rooms saves him $1,500 per year.

After 28 years as a driller in the oil and gas industry, working his way from the bottom, Art Rothman had made up his mind: “I wasn’t going to keep feeding the energy companies.” He took his driller’s instincts in mechanics and fluid […]

The Most Important Election You’ve Never Heard of

By |2019-01-14T10:24:36-07:00May 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|

If you care about clean energy and think utilities are boring, think again. Utilities play a key role in the fight against climate change. As much as 70 percent of Pitkin County’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the energy used in homes and businesses. And at present, 58 percent of the energy provided by the valley’s largest electric utility — Holy Cross Energy — comes from coal. That’s why a utility’s decisions around clean energy and energy efficiency matter.

Luckily, there’s […]

Is Earth Day Still Relevant? More. Than. Ever.

By |2018-07-10T23:15:44-06:00April 17th, 2018|Blog Feed|

Everyday is Earth Day: during the 2015 Paddle in Seattle, 300+ “kayaktivists” formed a flotilla of protest in Elliott Bay, raising their paddles and their voices against Arctic drilling. Photo courtesy of Andy Clark.

It’s hard to remember a time before the EPA and the Clean Air Act. Prior to these protections, it was every man (bear, and river) for himself.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million of those “men” filled the streets to call for preservation of the environment. […]

Out Like a Light: Bulb Recycling 101

By |2018-10-29T12:00:52-06:00March 28th, 2018|Blog Feed, Uncategorized|

Technology is changing faster than ever. This is even true with lighting. Upgrading to LED is a no-brainer. But what to do with your old bubs? It depends on the type:

Incandescent bulbs:

Odds are your house still has a handful of these. For years and years, they were the most common light bulb. You may be able to distinguish them by the metal filament. If you give them a light shake, you’ll hear a […]

Change for the Better: a Guide to Going LED

By |2018-07-10T23:15:20-06:00March 13th, 2018|Blog Feed|

When should you make the switch to LEDs? Should you wait until each light bulb burns out? Or go for the full lighting makeover now?

No need to hem and haw, say experts at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability who’ve done the math for you:

Your incandescent and halogen bulbs should be upgraded to CFLs or LEDs immediately. We at CORE recommend you go straight to LED.

It’s not as cut and dry for your existing CFLs. […]

Is Climate Change Busting Our Powder? Open Snow’s Joel Gratz Weighs In.

By |2018-07-10T23:31:24-06:00January 16th, 2018|Blog Feed|

Open Snow founder and meteorologist Joel Gratz breaking down the season at a recent talk in Frisco. Photo: Hugh Carey /

It was a dismal start to the ski season. By early January, I could run in a t-shirt, had shoveled less than a foot of snow and even the open ski runs were dotted with patches of grass and exposed rocks.

I couldn’t help but wonder: How should we make sense of this? Is climate change to blame […]

Climate Action Planning Isn’t Sexy. Why You Should Care Anyway.

By |2018-07-10T23:29:57-06:00November 11th, 2017|Blog Feed|

“Landscape of Change,” where climate change data meets watercolor, by artist Jill Pelto.

Pitkin County knows that the climate is changing our valley and that ambitious action is needed — if we’re to stave off the forecast of warmer winters, reduced snowpack, disrupted water cycles, and increased risk of wildfire.

So what is the County doing about it? ? On October 25th, the Board of County Commissioners…wait for it…adopted a PLAN.

I know, I know. Plans aren’t sexy. Action […]

The Right Move

By |2018-07-10T23:42:05-06:00September 10th, 2017|Blog Feed|

“CORE is an incredible community resource,” says Liz Stewart, recipient of CORE rebate funds.

When a 70s-era investment property came into Liz Stewart’s possession, she knew she could count on CORE, again. Seven years back we helped the Aspen resident complete a home energy reboot on her home. This time around, CORE scored almost $3,000 in rebates to lower the cost of her latest energy makeover.

As with any old home, this rental unit had its share of problems: an old […]