CARBONDALE, Colorado - The town trustees signed off on plans to spend $100,000 of public funds this year on an effort to encourage homeowners and business owners to invest in energy-efficiency upgrades for their respective structures.
Future meetings will be held to hammer out details of the town's energy-efficiency initiative, part of Carbondale's efforts to increase its "green" profile and reduce the local "carbon footprint," or the amount of fossil fuels consumed by the local population.
At a work session on Tuesday, the trustees talked over the coming year's energy-efficiency programs and projects with representatives of Garfield Clean Energy (GCE), Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) and the Community Office of Resource Efficiency (CORE).
The three organizations, acting in consulting roles with local governments, businesses and homeowners, have been working for years toward greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources in communities throughout Garfield County.
Carbondale's current plan for 2013 calls for the town to spend $75,000 on rebates for installation of solar and other energy-efficiency technology. The rebates are to help pay the installation costs for residences as well as commercial properties.
Another $25,000, set aside by the trustees, is to be spent on larger projects outside the rebates program.
This is to be the second year of the partnership between the town and the trio of energy consultants. In 2012, Carbondale dedicated $80,000 toward the same goals.
Erica Sparhawk of GCE informed the trustees that, of the $80,000 the town applied to the program last year, there is some $16,000 left.
After some discussion, the trustees agreed that the leftover $16,000 should be lumped in with the 2013 rebates program and dedicated specifically to commercial projects, which lagged somewhat behind residential projects last year in terms of the number of projects completed.
For 2013, the trustees agreed that some of the $25,000 for larger projects should be spent installing an electric vehicle (EV) charging station either at Town Hall or next door at the Carbondale Rec Center.
Another potential use of the large-projects fund is the installation of solar photovoltaic cells on the roof of the new branch of the Garfield Public Library, which currently is under construction at the corner of South Third Street and Sopris Avenue.
Sparhawk said the roof was designed to accommodate a solar installation, so "that one could be done fairly quickly once the library is finished."
The trustees directed Sparhawk to also investigate other possible uses of the fund, such as helping with solar or other energy-efficiency installations at the local schools or on commercial buildings.
Sparhawk said she and the other consultants are scheduled to come back before the trustees in April to further discuss the options open to the town.