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New energy audit program designed to educate Garfield County residents

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Businesses may soon be able to see exactly what goes into an energy audit and retrofit of their properties through a new project proposed by the Garfield New Energy Community Initiative.

The new Glenwood Springs Commercial Audit and Retrofit Demonstration Project is designed to have between five and eight Glenwood businesses go through the process of making their commercial space more energy efficient. The purpose of the project is to educate other business owners, and county residents, on the process of an energy audit and what steps it takes to become more energy efficient.

The project is not open to just any business however, according to community and outreach coordinator for GNECI Heather McGregor. She said that there will only be enough funding to do between five and eight demonstration energy audits on prospective businesses who meet certain criteria. The businesses will be selected by a member of the project which is being spearheaded by Glenwood Engineering and Surveying company, Schmueser Gordon Meyer.



McGregor said that it’s obviously a good program for businesses who choose to participate because they are essentially getting a free energy audit of their commercial space, and up to 75 percent of the retrofit paid for through the project.

“The businesses are going to get strong benefits for participating with the audit and the retrofit rebates available,” McGregor said.



However, on the other hand, the process is going to be very revealing for the business owners. Participants must authorize access to their electric and gas utility data and be willing to pay partial costs of the retrofit, according to McGregor.

“It’s a very public process,” McGregor said. We want everyone to learn from these projects.”

The project is looking to include an ideal mix of building types to maximize demonstration effectiveness. McGregor said that the participating businesses could be determined in the next couple of weeks.

The next step would be to perform energy audits of the selected buildings, the cost of the audit will be covered through the program.

After the energy audit, the results will be shown to the buildings, and participants should carry out energy efficiency retrofits as set out by the audits. Participants submit invoices to receive a 50 to 75 percent rebate on cost of upgrades.

The city of Glenwood Springs provided $70,000 to the GNECI program, specifically for the Glenwood phase of the audit and retrofit project. The city’s total cash match to GNECI for 2009 is $206,000, of which, the organization has already used $45,000 of the city’s cash match to fund the Glenwood Springs Solar Rebates Program. The remaining money will be used for other Glenwood specific programs in the future, according to McGregor.

GNECI is seeking $227,000 in funds through the County’s Federal Recovery Act funding allocation to also help with the energy audit and retrofit program. McGregor indicated that GNECI applied for the funds in June and expects them to be available in 2010. The funds are planned to expand the commercial and residential audit and retrofit project throughout the county.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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