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Aspen energy conservation goes commercial

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The city of Aspen has expanded its Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP) to apply to commercial buildings. Aspen City Council voted in the change on Monday, along with the adoption of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

In 2000, the city adopted the world’s first mandatory program to levy a charge on excess energy use in residences. The program has the goal of keeping 3 tons of carbon out of the air for every ton of excess carbon emitted from some homes in Aspen.

That means residential homes that have snowmelt surfaces, outdoor pools and spas either have to offset their additional energy use either by installing renewable energy systems on site or exercising the REMP payment option. The funds are used to install renewable energy systems elsewhere.  



During a City Council work session in July 2008, the council asked Chief Building Official Stephen Kanipe to move forward with a commercial version of REMP, which mirrors the residential requirements.

At the same time, federal, state and local rebates, and tax credits are reducing the cost of photovoltaic systems by about 40 percent. At a recent meeting with local developers, Kanipe said many indicated they would seriously consider installing PV systems if the on-site renewable credits were adjusted.




Further, the federal stimulus package could result in major improvements to the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in downtown Aspen.

Aspen is the first city in the state to adopt the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, which allows private-sector applicants in the city to apply for federal funds, tax credits and state assistance to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

The 2009 IECC has the same standards the city of Aspen has been imposing for more than a decade.

The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office is expecting about $33 million to flow from the federal government through the state, to cities and counties.

As president of the Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council, Kanipe met in February with the governor’s Energy Office to help the state qualify for the federal funding. The federal funds will be made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.