Aspen touts energy efficiency improvements |

Aspen touts energy efficiency improvements

The city of Aspen announced Tuesday that its efficiency program worked with eight lodging properties to save 214,000 kilowatt-hour of energy annually, equivalent to the annual energy use of 26 average American homes.

The city engaged eight properties on the Aspen electric grid: Aspen Square, Hearthstone House, Hotel Durant, Independence Square, Limelight Hotel, Snow Queen Lodge, St. Moritz Lodge and Tyrolean Lodge in an efficiency makeover contest. Each hotel had its utility bill analyzed and received an energy assessment.

Hotel Durant succeeded at making the most innovative improvement by undertaking major air sealing, insulation and window upgrades that resulted in a 28 percent reduction in its monthly gas bills. The Limelight Hotel is saving the most amount of energy per square foot, which it achieved through LED lighting upgrades, heating, cooling, hot water and snowmelt-system upgrades, wireless smart thermostats and a full building energy monitoring system. The property is now seeing nearly a $900 savings in its electric bill monthly, an overall reduction of 9 percent per month. Independence Square Hotel has reduced its monthly electric bill by 23 percent, for a $556 per month savings and is projected to pay back the improvement costs in just seven months.

“The results of the contest have proven that energy efficiency investments can be cost effective, and that historic buildings can be efficient, too,” said Ryland French, utilities efficiency specialist for the city of Aspen.

Aaron Shaffer, Aspen Skiing Co.’s energy manger, was in charge of the Limelight Hotel upgrades: “I believe it is imperative that utility providers and businesses work together in order to accomplish energy savings. … In addition, it never hurts when there is healthy competition that creates positive results on all fronts.”

All the participating hotels implemented electricity, natural gas and water savings upgrades, including LED lighting, smart thermostats, heating system tune-ups and upgrades, air sealing, insulation and window upgrades.

“As part of its Climate Action Plan, the city has a goal of reducing Aspen’s greenhouse-gas emissions 30 percent by 2020,” French said. “But with Aspen Electric being nearly 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources, electricity savings are only achieving so much in terms of greenhouse-gas reductions. These projects that cut back on natural gas use create major greenhouse-gas savings.”

The city awarded the Limelight Hotel $3,500 and the Most Energy Saved Per Square Foot award, Hotel Durant $2,000 and the Most Innovative Improvement award, and Independence Square Hotel $3,500 and the Most Energy Saved Per Dollar Spent award. The hotels completed their upgrades with assistance and rebates from the city of Aspen, CORE and SourceGas.

The city of Aspen has programs for residential customers including subsidized energy assessments. For more information on Aspen’s efficiency programs contact French at 970-429-1969 or,

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