Why city hired ‘outside experts’ | AspenTimes.com

Why city hired ‘outside experts’

Dear Editor:

A recent letter writer questioned why “outside experts” were being hired by the city of Aspen to perform energy retrofits. Here’s why:

• Six companies submitted proposals to become the city’s energy auditing company, and all were interviewed. Of those six, three were local. The local companies were between 30 and 50 percent more costly and did not have the capability to engage in performance contracting or finance the improvements discovered through the energy audits. Also, our local contractors showed little to no experience on a scale we were undertaking, while McKinstry, the winning proposal, has 60 years of experience in this realm with a large team of professionals. McKinstry is also a qualified energy services company, prescreened by the governor’s Energy Office to participate in audit/improvement programs for public buildings. No local firm held this qualification.

• For the actual retrofitting work and construction phase, McKinstry will act as a general contractor and will use local contractors to perform the work (to the greatest extent possible) while maintaining service and fiscal responsibility. The improvements and energy savings are monitored and verified, commissioned and guaranteed by McKinstry. This was an important consideration, as currently local companies do not offer this full service.

• The city of Aspen was the driver, partner and spearhead for the energy auditing courses being offered through Colorado Mountain College. Our goal is to train and retool local contractors to become certified energy auditors and provide jobs to put contractors back to work in this economy. We are using these trained auditors for our utility programs. We are also working to actively educate homeowners on the benefits of energy auditing, including local, state and federal incentives, and promoting those trained local auditors to get the work done.

If you have questions about energy audits, or want to find out more, contact Jeff Rice, utilities energy efficiency manager for the city of Aspen, at 970-920-5118 or at jeffr@ci.aspen.co.us.

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Phil Overeynder

utilities director, city of Aspen

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