Glenwood chips in to green effort | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood chips in to green effort

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Glenwood Springs City Council supports contributing $450,000 toward a regional effort to obtain $2 million in grant money for green projects.

The vote of support was taken last week. Funds will still have to be approved in the municipal budget process.

A local group called Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) has met since July and spearheaded an effort to organize and motivate local governments and other organizations to participate in securing the grant money. Up to $2 million in grant money is available through the state’s Department of Local Affairs and Governor’s Energy Office New Energy Communities Initiative.

“I think it’s really exciting because it’s a project that includes Garfield County and all the municipalities working together to try to access and leverage some state funds that we can use for renewables and conservation in the county,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen. “It’s really visionary that the communities and the county are working together toward long-term energy solutions while at the same time we’re being so heavily impacted by the extraction industry.”

So far, Garfield County has agreed to contribute at least $200,000. New Castle will pitch in a total of $59,000. Rifle will contribute $509,000. The Garfield County Library District will give $20,000, and Silt will come up with $1,000, according to Heather McGregor, CLEER’s communications director.

“We’re working with the nuts and bolts of the application but it’s the vision and the political will that’s emerged from all these jurisdictions that’s really allowing this to happen,” McGregor said. “People are excited about the potential of this grant. It’s bringing up to $2 million into our region to kind of kick-start renewable energy applications and policies.”

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Some of the funds from each organization listed above represent specific clean energy projects that the community is undertaking next year. Portions of those total amounts would be meant to finance things the state wants to promote through the grant initiative including green building, renewable energy demonstration projects, retrofitting street lights with LED bulbs, helping small commercial property owners to offset the costs of energy efficiency efforts and rebates for home insulation.

One idea that’s being discussed for Glenwood Springs is using a geothermal exchange heating system to heat the pool at the Community Center ” one of the largest energy users among all the municipal government buildings. A soon-to-be-released climate action plan by the Glenwood Springs Ad Hoc Energy Efficiency Committee is expected to provide some direction on other possibilities in the city.

City Manager Jeff Hecksel said $200,000 of Glenwood’s contribution would come out of the city’s electric fund. It would be used for incentives to reduce energy consumption and possible incentives for people who add energy efficient measures to their homes. He said Glenwood could hand out energy-efficient compact florescent light bulbs.

“It’s been suggested to me a fair amount of the residential load in Glenwood is attributed to lighting,” Hecksel said. “I think the idea is to help people be able to reduce their consumption of electricity.”

McGregor said the grant application process is competitive and 20 of 36 total grant applicants have already been screened out. She expects to hear results of the grant application Oct. 14. She said CLEER is appearing at town hall meetings this week to ask Carbondale and Parachute what they would contribute toward the grant application.

pfowler@postindependent.com

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