- Energy Improvements
- Apply for Grants
- High 5 RFV
CORE Grant Powers Rosybelle the Mobile Maker Space
When 90% of people believe that arts are vital to a well-rounded K-12 education, and only half think that everyone has equal access to the arts, you’ve got a problem. Carbondale Arts saw the challenge and got inspired. What if we took a decommissioned school bus, they wondered, and kitted it out as an arts classroom that we could bring directly to the kids?
Being Carbondale Arts, a change-making community arts leader, they weren’t yet satisfied — bold as their idea was. They pressed on: Imagine if we could bring art and technology together, providing programming that squares up with what kids are already using? Their bright minds envisioned hitting the road with film editing, music composition, sewing, stop animation, and more.
What they were dreaming up was a mobile “maker space.” Fast forward 18 months and that vision would become a tricked out, brightly colored bus known as Rosybelle, honoring the organization’s late director, Ro Mead. But in those early days, still at the drawing boards, there remained one key question: How can we power this idea.
Now covering three-quarters of Rosybelle’s 26-foot roof, the 2,160-watt system provides all interior power for the maker space. That includes power strips with outlets and USB ports that line the workspaces, interior lights, and the pump for the onboard sink. This allows Rosybelle to offer not just traditional arts like painting, drawing and printmaking, but also solar energy education and the computer-based offerings that filled Carbondale Arts’ original dreams.
“The expertise of CORE and SunSense helped us get a very integral piece of the bus — solar power — and stay consistent with the values of our community,” says Rosybelle program director, Kat Rich. “It enables us to power technology that is relevant to kids today.”
Rosybelle launched in April (at CORE’s High Five launch events in Aspen and Carbondale) and has proven to be a very popular lady. In the two short months that Rosybelle has been on the road, she has traversed points from Aspen to Rifle, providing a safe “third space” (complementing school and home) for kids to learn and create. In the upcoming school year, the Rosybelle crew expects to be in Rifle, New Castle and Carbondale schools, plus many afterschool and weekend events, serving over 2,000 youth valleywide.
“The need is much greater than we thought,” says Carbondale Arts’ executive director, Amy Kimberly. “She just brings joy wherever she goes and that’s ultimately what we hoped for.”
Renewable energy and the arts, as it turns out, are natural travel partners and impact makers. Onboard Rosybelle, they are empowering communities with art, one class at a time.
When CORE staff arrived on site at the Aspen Historical Society (AHS) to evaluate the energy performance of the nonprofit’s carriage house, large portions of the attic insulation were outright missing. “I could see bare wood on the attic walls, with totally inadequate insulation on the floors,” said Marty Treadway, CORE’s Program Director.
This was but one symptom of the ailing facility — along with single-pane windows, air leaks, old-school lighting, and radon — that resulted in recommendations from CORE for a comprehensive energy efficiency overhaul. The ambitious remedies that the Historical Society undertook — designed by Forum Phi Architecture, built by G.F. Woods Construction, and funded in part by $20,000 in Community Grants from CORE — will take the archive building into the next century, preserving not only Aspen’s past, but also ensuring a healthy future for its collections and its employees.
Originally constructed in 1976 to house a historic water wagon and exhibits for the adjacent Wheeler / Stallard Museum, by 2016 the 3,200-square foot, three-level carriage house was serving neither its collections nor its staff particularly well. The two were intermingled throughout the leaky building, from the basement to the attic. This exposed the collections to potential contamination by the humans who tend them (think: dust, UV light, temperature fluctuations, food that attracts critters – all enemies of archives), and exposed the employees to potential contamination by radon that was discovered in the lower level.
By separating the staff from “the stuff,” they were able to more than double the storage capacity, increasing the Historical Society’s ability to take in collections for the next 20 years. In the process, they brought the basement up to the best practices for museum archiving and, after radon mitigation and energy efficiency upgrades, optimized the health conditions in the workspaces.
“It’s better for you and better for the collections,” says AHS archivist Anna Scott.
Concurrent with these spatial improvements were the energy enhancements. The build team sealed leaking window frames in the attic and rim joists in the unfinished basement, bumping up the building envelope’s air tightness by 25%. Fiberglass batt insulation was uniformly installed, along with three inches of spray foam insulation in the hard-to-reach nooks, resulting in an R-value improvement from virtually zero to 49. Twelve windows were swapped out with high-performance .28 U-factor models, vaulting the functionality of the glazing by 65%. Efficient LED lights replaced a mix of incandescent and CFL bulbs throughout the building. Zoned thermostats were installed so that the basement archives — suited to the constant 60-degree, 30% relative humidity of underground — can stay cool, while the “people areas” above can stay comfortable.
A big bonus for the staff is the day lighting and fresh air that resulted from escaping from the basement where the archives are housed. “It’s amazingly bright,” says Scott, “and now that we’re separated from collections, we have more flexibility to open windows.” Both features give them the ability to adjust the workspace comfort without using much energy. The tighter building and enhanced insulation mean they don’t have to use a lot of heat, and when they do, warming (and cooling) to the right temperature happens quickly.
As the team wraps up construction this month, they will begin tracking their energy savings.
CORE’s Community Grants were a cornerstone to the project’s energy efficiency improvements. “In the Aspen scheme of things, $20K isn’t much,” said AHS president Kelly Murphy. “But for us it was huge.”
We’ll raise a glass to that. You can too at the Historical Society’s Grand Opening Celebration of the archive building on July 14. Details at www.aspenhistory.org.
Did You Know?
CORE annually awards more than $600,000 in grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the Roaring Fork Valley and offers free technical and financial advising. If you have a commercial, institutional or industrial development project (new construction or retrofit) that you would like to explore, please reach out — as early in the process as possible — to Marty Treadway at 970.925.9775 ext. 504. Learn more about CORE’s grant program here.
Here we are again. That time of year when we’ve weathered the last few late-season snowstorms Colorado is known for. Families are trading in time spent on the slopes for time spent in the river. We pack away the ski gloves and dust off a pair of our trusty gardening ones. It’s springtime: time to plant.
Before we start digging in the dirt, it’s important to think about the need to conserve our natural resources, specifically water. Over 50% of outdoor water use is poured into lawns and gardens. And more than half of that water is wasted through inefficiencies. Water is a precious commodity, and Westerners know firsthand the impacts of drought and low-water years. Preparing for the future, and taking action now by saving water, will only benefit us later.
So let’s take action. This month, CORE is encouraging Roaring Fork Valley residents to participate in the High Five movement by planting local species in yards and gardens. You can take that action a step further through xeriscaping: a type of landscaping that reduces water-use by 50-75%. Xeriscaping doesn’t mean ripping out all your grass, plants, and flowers to simply replace them with rocks. By using drought-resistant and native plants, you can transform your yard into a beautiful, water-conserving focal point of your home.
Taking on this task might seem a little overwhelming. Not to worry — we’ve got you covered. CORE is organizing two local “Xeriscape 101” workshops in the Roaring Fork Valley. The first will be held this Saturday, May 20, at the Basalt Library. The class will be led by Sheri Sanzone, founder of Bluegreen. A registered landscape architect in Colorado and Utah, national certified planner, and a LEED accredited professional, Sheri will bring her expertise and boil it down to simple concepts that can translate into your backyard. On Wednesday May 31, the series will travel down to the Carbondale Library where Heather Henry, founder of Connect One Designs, will add her spin to the topic. Heather has over fifteen years of landscape architecture and land planning experience. Both xeriscape workshops are free to the public and attendees will be entered in a chance to win a $50 gift card to a local nursery. The community classes are free and all are welcome. An RSVP by email is requested to reserve your spot.
More to come in this Backyard Water Conservation Workshop Series: “Rain Barrels 101: How to Use Local Water.” CORE is partnering with the Roaring Fork Conservancy to host a primer on water collection, which will include a take-home rain barrel for each participant. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 5, from 4 to 6pm, at Carbondale’s Third Street Center. Details for this space-limited class, including fee and registration, will be provided later this month.
When two dedicated Carbondalians decided to hand-build their dream home from scratch, and pull off the ultimate green-building magic trick — creating a home that produces more energy than it uses — they made many discoveries.
1) It is possible to build something beautiful, affordable and beyond carbon neutral. (They beat the “HERS” rating by a factor of 10.)
When Scott Gilbert, president of Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley, describes how his team works, he pulls from the modern Japanese concept of kaizen, or “change for better.” This commitment to continuous improvement, made famous in business circles by Toyota (with whom Gilbert previously worked), fits the organization to a tee.
“We have used kaizen to inspire our team to be better and better at our daily work and outcomes, and to raise our sights as to what we could achieve.” It’s worked so well, he says, that “We have, quite frankly, even surprised ourselves.”
Not only do they aim to create more affordable housing more quickly, increasingly the organization wants to build the most affordable green homes possible.
So when Habitat RFV decided that it was time to build a “forever home” for its ReStore retail operations in Glenwood Springs — giving themselves the kind of permanence that they deliver to their clients — one of their first phone calls was to CORE. Having worked with our organization in years past, they understood the value of early technical expertise and grant feasibility to figure out how they could create the tightest build for their budget, with energy efficiency and renewable energy at the top of their list.
“We knew if we were building a home for ourselves, green would have to be a part of it,” added construction manager Dana Dalla Betta.
Sustainable building wasn’t always on the radar for Habitat. But over the last several years, the organization evolved from simply using green practices to being at the forefront of the movement in affordable housing. The local team pioneered a net zero home (buildings that produce as much energy as they consume) in Rifle in 2011, followed by a LEED Platinum home in Carbondale in 2013. Solar panels now top 14 of the 25 homes they have built in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Building with efficiency and sustainability in mind became part of their long-term goal when they realized, as Dalla Betta describes, “If we can lower our clients’ carry costs — what they pay in utilities — then it remains affordable in the long-term for them.”
Another light bulb moment occurred when leaders recognized that the same would be true of their proposed 40,500-square foot ReStore: any savings harvested from lower operating costs would be funnelled into their homebuilding fund, allowing them to better realize their mission to create housing. Green building could pay for itself, and then some.
Habitat’s Design team (including Green Line Architects and SGM Engineers) was leaning toward a pre-engineered metal building as a cost-effective building type. However, steel structures, notoriously lousy in the thermal performance department, suffer from air loss and thermal bridging (temperature being conducted through the building material, in this case, steel) at the structural ribs. The standard insulation package for a steel facility includes only batt blanket insulation between the posts, which tends to compress upon contact with the steel structure. The upshot? The usefulness of the insulation is canceled out.
Working with CORE’s Grants Director Marty Treadway, who brings a building performance trifecta to the table (an architecture degree, a former contractor’s license and Certified Energy Manager certificate), the team brainstormed ideas to improve on the shortcomings of steel structures. Ultimately, they decided to wrap the exterior in continuous, rigid insulation to meet both the energy goals and the building manufacturers’ constraints. The result is a solution that will minimize heat loss and improve the overall tightness of the envelope. Kaizen!
This no-cost technical advising was just the surface of the CORE-Habitat collaboration. Over the course of three years, Treadway guided Habitat to apply for CORE funding: a $12,000 Design Assistance Grant for a feasibility study and two Randy Udall Energy Pioneer matching grants totalling $200,000 for a 50-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system and the building envelope improvements.
“Without CORE’s grant funding, we wouldn’t have been able to finance the costs of the energy efficiency improvements,” said Dalla Betta. The grant for the building envelope reduced Habitat’s capital costs, brought the payback down to an attractive five-year period, and leveraged financing from lenders.
Habitat broke ground on its new ReStore in March and hopes to open its doors early next year. Annual energy savings for the facility are anticipated to roll in at $24,000, which will be reinvested in their homebuilding fund. One hundred thirty thousand kilowatt hours of electricity and 13,500 therms of natural gas are also on the chopping block, helping to lower the carbon footprint of building footprint, which comes in just under an acre.
“The support and encouragement from CORE can’t be underestimated,” says Dalla Betta. She describes the nonprofit as “a great advocate and partner in helping push us further than we might have on our own.” Could this be continuous improvement at work? We’re betting that Gilbert, the kaizen disciple, would say yes.
Did You Know?
CORE annually awards more than $600,000 in grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the Roaring Fork Valley and offers free technical and financial advising. If you have a commercial, institutional or industrial development project (new construction or retrofit) that you would like to explore, please reach out — as early in the process as possible — to Marty Treadway at 970.925.9775 ext. 504. Learn more about CORE’s grant program here and note the deadlines: Design Assistance and Community Grants are rolling, while TRUE Pioneer (The Randy Udall Energy) Grants is May 1. CORE also offers a Net Zero Home grant for homeowners, also with a rolling deadline.
Hannah Itzler is all about “on-the-ground change.” The Florida native put this motto to work when cycling across the country with Bike & Build in the summer of 2015. In the company of 29 fellow riders, she logged 4,233 miles and 18 work days — pitching in on everything from hanging drywall to building a foundation — in the service of affordable housing.
After dipping her bike wheels in the Pacific Ocean, Hannah landed back in Aspen, where she has vacationed with her family and lived part-time over the last decade. She set about pursuing her passion for environmental planning — in which she earned a master’s degree, following an undergraduate degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment from the University of Florida — and struck upon the opening for Energy Program Coordinator at CORE.
We are delighted to welcome Hannah to the team! The new role will provide Hannah with another opportunity for hands-on change. She will oversee CORE’s income-qualified program, helping homeowners and renters affordably minimize their home’s energy consumption and costs while also creating a safer and more sustainable environment in which to live.
Next month Hannah will add to her construction and academic background by training with the Building Performance Institute to achieve her building analyst certification and will begin working directly with clients shortly thereafter.
When asked why she wanted to work with CORE, Hannah said: “Helping people — as cliche as that is — but it’s true.” No surprise coming from someone who was willing to pedal herself across the country to do just that.
The High Five Action of the Month: Get a Home Energy Assessment
The High Five movement kicked off with a bang! During the first week of April, some 300 participants helped us to celebrate and demonstrate that Environment + Art + Community = Action. And Fun.
Guests were on hand at the Aspen Brewing Company and later at The Launchpad to experience the premiere of the “Snow Drawing” short with talented young filmmaker Sam Blakeslee, release their guilty energy secrets in the Energy Confessional art installation, make Energy Warrior art with Reina Katzenberger in Carbondale Arts’ Rosybelle mobile maker-space bus. And most importantly, sign on to take the High Five pledge: committing to five energy-saving actions (or more!) in 2017.
“Our valley of bird watchers, powder seekers, fort builders and trail blazers all want the same thing: a healthy environment,” said CORE executive director Mona Newton. “That’s why we are giving you easy solutions you can accomplish each month.”
It’s not too late to join the movement!
Get started today:
We couldn’t have done it with the generosity of a consortium of utilities, businesses, municipalities and individuals. Many thanks to our sponsors:
The High Five is co-presented by:
And generously sponsored by:
In collaboration with:
With support from our donors:
Sustainability starts at home, something that’s not lost on the Town of Basalt. The Town’s newly adopted Basalt Climate Action Plan and Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community promises a path to reduce emissions, starting with its own operations.
The plans include an aggressive goal for the Basalt community: reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.
But, perhaps the biggest pledge of the Basalt Climate Action Plan is the vow to share the responsibility: the Town will consider allocating $100,000/year to fund energy efficiency projects in town facilities.
The Town realizes that energy efficiency is an extremely effective way to reduce emissions and generate utility bill savings. Approximately 70% of Basalt’s emissions come from the energy used in homes and businesses. To that end, building energy became a focal point of the Plan.
The commitment to retrofit the Town’s building stock is a major milestone in Basalt’s climate efforts. “We want to show a new level of leadership by walking the walk,” said Susan Philp, Basalt Planning Director and Green Team staff liaison.
The Plan lays out six strategies to achieve real results. This blueprint for action is so utilitarian and common sense that it goes on for just two pages.
Green Team member and town councilman Auden Schendler said: “We’re trying to be like Warren Buffet here with his one-page contracts. We know our carbon goals are wildly ambitious. That’s why we want to spend our time on action, not extensive analysis and reports. So we’re focusing on carbon reductions in buildings and influencing public policy.” Among other actions, the Plan calls on Basalt to advocate for more clean energy, and to enforce more stringent building codes.
Adoption is just the beginning. Next comes the hard part: actually taking action. Encouragingly, Basalt is off to a great start, with help from CORE.
In 2016, CORE helped to kick-start the climate action planning effort by completing an emissions inventory. Since then we have partnered with the Town to upgrade all streetlights to LEDs and identify other climate friendly projects. On tap is an effort to upgrade bulbs in town facilities to LEDs. With CORE’s support, the Town has secured a grant from the Aspen Skiing Company’s Environmental Foundation to make this happen.
Next up on Basalt’s plate for 2017:
Now it’s your turn to bring it home. Where will you begin? For inspiration, connect with The High Five, a new social movement that CORE and the City of Aspen are launching to take action on the environment by saving energy. Get action ideas, start saving energy and win!
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! The Electric Vehicle Sales EVent is about to speed off the line.
Four Colorado dealers have stepped up to offer discounts on seven models of electric vehicles (EV) during the regional sales program that will be held April 1 through June 30, 2017. In this 90-day window, interested car buyers can reap discounts from $300 to $8,000 on EVs from regional dealers of Audi, Chevrolet, Nissan and BMW. This is on top of up to $12,500 in combined state and federal subsidies on the no- and low-emissions cars.
It’s ready-set-go time to get into an EV.
|Dealer||Model||Type||MSRP||Dealer discount||Colorado subsidy||Federal subsidy|
|Audi Glenwood Springs||A3 e-tron||PHEV||$44,195||$2,210||$5,000||up to $4,085|
|Mountain Chevrolet||Volt||PHEV||$34,095||$1,000||$5,000||up to $7,500|
|Bolt||BEV||$37,495||$300||$5,000||up to $7,500|
||Leaf S||BEV||$33,515||$8,000||$5,000||up to $7,500|
|Leaf SV||BEV||$35,255||$8,000||$5,000||up to $7,500|
|Co’s BMW Center||i3 REX||BEV||$49,145||$3,000||$5,000||up to $7,500|
|X5 xDrive40e||PHEV||$70,145||$4,000||$5,000||up to $4,200|
|530e xDrive||PHEV||$62,835||$3,000||$5,000||up to $4,200|
What They’re Saying
During a March 15 press conference announcing the program, Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron praised the efficiency of EVs: “Electric vehicles are less costly to fuel, with the electricity equivalent of a gallon of gasoline costing about $1.10 per ‘e-gallon’.” Skadron said more affordable fuel and less overall maintenance means electric vehicles can help reduce the cost of living in resort communities.
How It Works
During this “group buy,” individuals work directly with the dealers to test drive vehicles and make their purchases. To take advantage of the savings, prospective buyers should mention the EV Sales Event when they initiate contact with the dealer and make sure the dealer remembers to calculate in the discount at the time of sale.
Who’s Making This Happen?
CORE is part of a tri-county effort partnering to deliver the EV Sales Event. The program is spearheaded by Refuel Colorado (a program of the Colorado Energy Office) and Garfield Clean Energy and managed by CLEER. More information is available here.
EV Sales Event Partners:
Find out about more energy improvements by signing up for our monthly newsletter.