Glenwood Springs engineering firm presents energy forum |

Glenwood Springs engineering firm presents energy forum

Pete FowlerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS In Boulder County, energy conservation doesnt stop even when the electricity hits a county employees desk.We discovered that a third of our usage is actually plug load, said Ann Livingston, Boulder Countys first sustainability coordinator.In response, the county controls usage and settings of computers, printers, copiers and other appliances to optimize efficiency.We basically outlawed space heaters, she said. We also started frowning upon personal lamps and lights at the desks.An annual energy efficiency contest between Boulder County buildings helps motivate employees to reduce energy consumption, she said. Devices called Kill-A-Watts are available to measure an appliances energy use.Many small improvements add up to a whole lot of energy conservation for local governments. Livingston highlighted that message during a discussion about energy efficiency Friday in Glenwood Springs. She described numerous energy efficiency efforts Boulder County has made, speaking in one of several presentations at a forum presented by Schmueser Gordon Meyer Engineers & Surveyors.One of the first things we focused on is adjusting our lighting, Livingston said.The county installed light sensors and dimmers in its buildings to reduce their energy use. The buildings harvest as much daylight as possible. The county removed lights where theyre not needed and uses compact fluorescent light bulbs, Livingston said.With 1,864 desks for Boulder County employees and 1.3 million square feet of building space, small changes make a big difference, Livingston said.One of the things weve done is really work on engagement for every staff person and really look at a culture change, Livingston said.The county purchases only recycled paper and places recycling bins at each employees desk. The bins are picked up by custodial staff. The county committed to building all its new buildings to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.In 2007, 50 percent of county-purchased electricity came from wind, she said. A biomass-fueled heater warms a county building in Longmont.Were replacing our conventional fleet vehicles with more fuel-efficient vehicles, Livingston said.Even Boulder County deputies conserve by making arrests with flex-fuel vehicles. Over half the sheriffs fleet makes use of alternative energy sources such as biodiesel, Livingston said.The county workers can teleconference or use county bicycles to get around for work. Incentive programs and flexible schedules encourage employees to travel by bus.Dan Richardson, of SGM, encouraged local cities, counties and businesses to band together and strive for increased energy efficiency.Itll take constant dedication and will to keep testing things and understand its not going to go perfectly, he said.Glenwood Springs has made some of its own energy efficiency efforts. Last year, an Energy Efficiency Ad Hoc Committee appointed by the city audited Glenwoods government energy usage and carbon emissions for the first time. The idea was to establish a baseline from which to measure progress. The committee said in December that the areas of highest energy consumption in Glenwood are the Community Center, fuel for vehicles, and streetlights.Committee member Heather McGregor said at Fridays energy forum that the committee will present further information to the City Council on Feb. 7. Part of the discussion will include harnessing geothermal energy.George Wear, also on the committee, said Glenwood Springs electric utility has increased the amount of power purchased from renewable sources over past years, and has a goal of reaching 10 percent.Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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