Free energy consult can add to business’s bottom line | PostIndependent.com

Free energy consult can add to business’s bottom line

Garfield Clean Energy serves businesses from Carbondale to Parachute

By Lauren Glendenning
For the Post Independent

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Garfield Clean Energy

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Free consulting services

Maximize your energy savings and minimize hassle with free energy consulting from Garfield Clean Energy. Free consulting includes these services:

  • An on-site building energy walk-through with a professional facility energy manager.
  • A detailed written energy action plan that prioritizes projects and calculates paybacks.
  • Contractor referrals and bid analysis.
  • Access to rebates and incentives that can help stretch your project dollars.

For more information, visit cleanenergyeconomy.net.

From poorly insulated buildings to old lighting to out-dated heating systems, energy inefficiencies cost more, aren’t environmentally-friendly and often make business less comfortable for customers and employees.

Garfield Clean Energy offers free walkthroughs to help local businesses reduce their energy bills by improving efficiency, increasing comfort and reducing their contribution to climate change.

Garfield Clean Energy is a program funded by seven local governments plus RFTA and Colorado Mountain College and administered by Carbondale-based CLEER (Clean Energy Economy for the Region). One of its primary purposes is to help local businesses become more energy efficient and identify financing options that include rebates — sometimes thousands of dollars in rebates.

“We are here to help from start to finish and to make the process as smooth as possible,” said Maisa Metcalf, an energy consultant at CLEER. “We have helped complete over 340 commercial upgrades in the past decade.”

Energy Assessments

When a business enrolls in Garfield Clean Energy’s commercial program, it receives a free walkthrough with recommendations on how to improve energy performance.

GCE coaches start by talking to the business owner about their various systems and the building’s overall condition. They look at lighting, heating and cooling, insulation, windows and doors and make an assessment that they share with the business owner or manager.

For businesses that decide to make improvements, GCE energy coaches remain available to provide contractor referral, review proposals from the contractors, and assist with rebates and financing.

Metcalf said the most common energy inefficiency is old, inefficient lighting — both indoors and outdoors. But there are many ways a building can be made more energy efficient to lower costs and improve comfort.

“Our coaches also find poorly insulated buildings, leaky windows and doors and opportunities for heating system upgrades,” she said.

Solutions to inefficiencies

Here are the solutions GCE has been helping businesses to implement in order to become more energy efficient, save money and have a lighter impact on the environment.

1. Lighting: For all businesses, switching to more energy efficient light bulbs indoors and out can save money right away.

Modern LED lighting is more cost effective and lasts for years, whereas incandescent and fluorescent bulbs burn hot, burn money and burn out much more quickly than LED lighting. Installing LEDs is a simple way to reduce maintenance costs for a building or business owner.

Lighting controls and occupancy sensors also increase comfort and save on utility bills.

Installing a system to manage parking and security lighting is a great and often easy way for businsses to achieve significant energy savings. Metcalf said GCE coaches have seen the price of such lighting systems come down in recent years with significant improvements in quality.

2. Temperature Control: Upgrading heating and cooling systems have saved hundreds of businesses working with GCE tens of thousands of dollars on their utility bills over the last decade.

For larger businesses with a large space or multiple buildings, a more comprehensive plan may be worth considering. GCE coaches will help identify all possible areas of improvement and help develop a plan to meet the specific business’s needs. That may include additional insulation, replacing single-pane windows, or installing an up-to-date, highly efficient HVAC system.

But sometimes the solution is as simple as the thermostat on an office wall.

“You’d be surprised how much more efficient your heating and cooling systems can be with a new thermostat,” Metcalf said. “It’s a low-cost solution that can bring big savings.”

3. Industrial settings: GCE coaches also have experience working in complex industrial settings. In workshops and garages, GCE coaches can identify opportunities for installing variable speed pumps and motors, controls on ventilation equipment, and other maintenance measures which can improve the efficiency of equipment while also extending its life.”

Improving heating and lighting systems makes businesses more comfortable, which can equate to an increase in its employees’ productivity and customer/client comfort. Retailers have said better lighting improves their displays and art galleries say LED lighting protects the art they sell.

“When a building addresses air leakage by sealing the leaks and adding insulation, occupant comfort increases immensely and can also make the space quieter,” Metcalf said.

More about CLEER and GCE

CLEER is a nonprofit consulting company located at the Third Street Center in Carbondale. CLEER manages Garfield Clean Energy, which offers energy consulting to homes and businesses in Garfield County. CLEER also manages the Glenwood Springs Electric Sustainability Program, which offers rebates for energy efficiency upgrades and solar PV projects for homes and businesses.

Garfield Clean Energy is a collaborative of all the municipalities — the county, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) — that provides education energy efficiency solutions, and alternative and renewable energy opportunities for residents, businesses, organizations and governments.

Rebates and benefits

Paying for upgrades may give some business owners pause, but there are actually many resources available to reduce costs and make larger investments possible.

“There are several different rebates available through utilities and local organizations for both heating and lighting systems to help reduce the upfront cost and the payback time,” Metcalf explains. “GCE can help you find and sign up for those rebates.”

Black Hills Energy, Xcel Energy, Glenwood Springs Electric and Holy Cross Energy all offer rebates and incentives to encourage businesses to become more energy efficient. The Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) also offers rebates in the Roaring Fork Valley.

CLEER is also registered to offer The Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing to businesses in Garfield County. Repayments are made through an assessment on the property’s county tax bill, with no upfront capital outlay.

C-PACE can be used to finance a variety of improvements, including new heating or cooling systems, lighting, water pumps, insulation, solar panels, and other renewable energy projects, and water efficiency upgrades.

The easiest way to learn about rebates and financing opportunities is to call CLEER at 970-704-9200 and talk to an Energy Coach.

For more information about GCE’s programs for businesses, visit http://garfieldcleanenergy.org/com-free-energy-consulting/


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