Glenwood businesses excited about energy, retrofit program
August 18, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Six Glenwood Springs businesses have been selected to participate in the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative’s commercial audit and retrofit demonstration project.
They will receive a free energy audit, plus a rebate that will pay for a portion of their energy efficiency retrofits.
It’s a program that Good Health Natural Grocers owner Steve Swanson thought was a phenomenal opportunity to make his establishment more energy efficient.
“We use a lot of utilities,” Swanson said. “If there is a way to reduce the cost of energy that would be enormous for us.”
Swanson said Good Health’s commercial refrigerators and coolers, which he estimated to be more than eight years old, and the building’s air conditioning unit both contribute to the high utility costs at his store.
However, he said the store had an efficiency analysis completed last year by Schmueser Gordon Meyer. The firm determined that the coolers and the refrigerators were sucking up more energy than the air conditioning unit. That was not what Swanson expected to hear.
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“The things that I thought would need to be changed to be more energy efficient [ended] up not being the case,” he said.
Dan Richardson with SGM said that’s not unusual.
“It’s really common,” he said. “Because a lot of people don’t necessarily have a firm idea of how energy comes from several sources, like electricity and natural gas.”
He added that oftentimes someone may think an air conditioner may not be as efficient as it should be, when in actuality, it could be more efficient just by replacing the old thermostat with a new one.
The key component to the program is to demonstrate to other businesses what things can be done to increase the energy efficiency in their buildings, according to Richardson.
The other businesses chosen for the program, along with Good Health, were Lavender and Thyme Bed and Breakfast, The Pit Stop, Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse, Active Communications, and Glenwood Sewing Center. These six were chosen from nine applicants by a selection committee that included Glenwood Springs City Councilwoman Shelley Kaup, City Manager Jeff Hecksel, Public Works Director Robin Millyard, Garfield County Environmental Health Manager Jim Rada, energy consultant Richardson of SGM, Jeff Dickinson of Energy and Sustainable Design Inc., and Clean Energy Economy for the Region outreach coordinator Heather McGregor.
“The businesses represent a strong diversity of business types and represent a lot of Glenwood businesses,” Richardson said.
The project offers a free energy audit and rebate of 50 to 75 percent of the costs of energy efficiency upgrades, up to a specific dollar amount. Businesses are required to pay for at least 25 percent of the upgrade costs. Upgrades covered by the rebate must be completed by Dec. 15.
Richardson and Tony Haschke, also of SMG, will perform the energy audits.