Garfield County included in DOE Colorado Retrofit Ramp-Up grant |

Garfield County included in DOE Colorado Retrofit Ramp-Up grant

Staff Report
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

According to a press release from Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative, the White House announced Wednesday that a cross-state partnership of Denver, Boulder County, Garfield County, the Governor’s Energy Office and Xcel Energy will together receive $25 million in federal stimulus grants through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up Initiative.

“This is great news. We are excited to join with Denver, Boulder and Xcel in this statewide effort, so we can scale up energy efficiency retrofits for homes and businesses in Garfield County,” said Shelley Kaup, chair of the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative Advisory Board and a Glenwood Springs City Council member .

The Colorado grant award was one of 25 Retrofit Ramp-Up awards, using $452 million in Recovery Act funding. The Obama administration’s ‘Recovery through Retrofit’ initiative is intended to lay the groundwork for a self-sustaining and robust home energy efficiency industry.

Staff from GNECI, a collaboration of nine local governments in the county, worked with the sustainability teams for Denver and Boulder to apply for the highly competitive Retrofit Ramp-Up grant.

The goals of the program are to stimulate economic growth for the building trades in Garfield County and the Denver-Boulder area, and to increase energy savings for existing homes and buildings through energy efficiency retrofits.

“We worked hard for Garfield County to be included in this exciting collaborative grant, in order to give the building trades and communities in our area a much-needed economic boost,” said Alice Laird, director of CLEER, the nonprofit that manages the GNECI.

GNECI is offering a free online energy tracker to households and businesses throughout Garfield County.

GreenQuest is a free online service that people can use to track energy use and spending. A special portal for Garfield County households and businesses into the GreenQuest energy tracker will allow the whole county to work as a team to track energy use and, over time, add up the collective energy savings.

“If you track your energy use and spending over time, it’s a lot easier to understand your energy use and ways to save energy and money,” said Kaup. “Using GreenQuest is an opportunity for everyone in the county to track their energy use and work together to save energy.”

GreenQuest turns monthly utility bills into charts and graphs that show trends in usage, spending and savings over time. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to enter the last two to three years of electric and natural gas bill information. After that, monthly updates take less than a minute.

People who haven’t been saving their utility bills or tracking their use on a spreadsheet can contact their utilities for that data.

“The data entry goes really fast, and then GreenQuest takes your data and converts it into charts with all sorts of interesting comparisons,” said Erica Sparhawk, Clean Energy Challenge program manager. “You’ll probably spend a few more minutes every month checking your energy trends.”

With the push of a button, each GreenQuest account holder can generate a report showing their building’s energy history. The report appears on a separate web page, which can be shared with friends and neighbors. GreenQuest also shows how each home or business measures up to their peers in Garfield County.

“Each household or business will have their own private GreenQuest online account, but the GreenQuest system will also provide us with county-wide totals so we can track the total energy use, energy spending and energy savings for everyone who participates,” Sparhawk said.

“We’ll report those achievements on the Garfield Clean Energy website,,” she said.

“If you start tracking your energy use now, you’ll have a good baseline for comparison after you make energy upgrades in your home or business,” said Greg Russi, vice chair of GNECI and a New Castle Town Council member.

For example, sending a pre-1990 refrigerator to recycling and buying an efficient ENERGY STAR model to replace it can cut electricity consumption by 100 kilowatt hours per month, which saves about $100 a year.

“It’s all about the bottom line, and GreenQuest gives you the information you need to show your household savings right away,” Russi said.

To open your free GreenQuest account, visit

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