Nelson Harvey
Post Independent Contributor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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September 27, 2012
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Carbondale board approves fall energy efficiency campaign

CARBONDALE, Colorado - As the temperature drops and heating bills rise this fall, the Carbondale-based nonprofit Clean Energy Economy For the Region (CLEER) is gearing up for an energy efficiency campaign.

The campaign will include rebates and incentives for energy efficiency improvements, energy coaching, and funding for energy conservation in local schools, according to Erica Sparhawk, CLEER's commercial and residential program manager.

It will be funded in part with $80,000 from the town of Carbondale, a grant that the trustees approved by a vote of 4-2 Tuesday night.

Mayor Stacey Bernot and trustee Elizabeth Murphy cast the two dissenting votes. Both voiced concerns that the funding request had come outside of the annual budget process, and Murphy said she had reservations after telling several other local nonprofits not to make mid-year requests.

"I support the work they do fully," Murphy said, of CLEER. "But in the fall we don't typically entertain requests for funding."

The money will come from the town's general fund. Approximately $40,500 will be used for rebates and incentives. Sparhawk told the trustees Tuesday that the rest will be split between funding a part-time staffer to oversee energy conservation efforts at Carbondale schools, consulting with citizens and small businesses on conservation opportunities, and raising awareness through print and radio ads.

Carbondale is currently saving approximately $67,000 annually due to energy efficiency improvements CLEER has made to municipal facilities, Sparhawk told the trustees.

Several residents spoke against the funding request for the way it would draw down Carbondale's general fund, prompting trustee Frosty Merriott to assert that energy efficiency investments would have an economic multiplier effect.

By saving residents money and funding local businesses, he said, the improvements could generate more than a savings account would.

"Its a heck of a lot better than money just sitting in the bank," he said.

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The Post Independent Updated Sep 27, 2012 12:37AM Published Sep 27, 2012 12:37AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.