Overall energy consumption down in Mountain Village

Solar Energy Rebate Program

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Town of Mountain Village took a no-holds-barred approach to reducing its energy use in 2014, and it paid off. This same approach continues into 2015.

“Mountain Village made significant capital investments for energy efficiency projects in 2014, and staff intends to continue to monitor energy consumption throughout 2015 to get a more thorough understanding of the effects of our efforts,” said the town’s Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “When efficiency projects are complete, next we will consider implementing more renewable energy projects to further reduce our emissions.”

In 2009 the Town of Mountain Village with the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County adopted a resolution to mirror the State of Colorado’s Climate Action Plan of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by the year 2020. Using 2010 as the baseline year for achieving this goal, Mountain Village calculates greenhouse gas emissions by converting total electricity, natural gas, and fuel consumed by government operations to carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas.

“Overall, we are experiencing a downward trend in electricity, natural gas and fuel consumption through most Mountain Village departments. We can attribute this to employee awareness, capital investment and a focus on energy efficiency projects during 2014,” explained Drew.

Energy Reduction Highlights

Following is a list of 2014 and 2015 energy reduction statistics, projects and programs lead by Mountain Village in order to reduce energy consumption.

  • In 2014 carbon dioxide emissions were reduced eight percent from 2013 levels, 13 percent from a six-year average, and 22 percent from 2010 baseline emission levels.
  • Mountain Village community’s electricity use was down five percent in 2014 based on 2010 energy use totals and down four percent based on a five-year average.
  • The Gondola Parking Garage LED project is showing the greatest energy savings of all facilities, with a 45 percent reduction from 2013 totals and 33 percent reduction over a five-year average.
  • Every inefficient light bulb in the gondola terminals will be replaced with LEDs this spring thanks in part to a San Miguel County grant that will cover nearly half of the cost of the project.
  • Solar panels purchased through Green Gondola Project donations and installed on gondola terminals have offset approximately two percent of the gondola’s total electricity use. The town intends to install more solar panels on gondola terminals in 2015.
  • In 2014, the town earmarked $300,000 for energy efficiency projects on town facilities based on energy audits and recommendations provided by energy consultants. Of the $300,000, $200,000 was rolled over into 2015, primarily to complete the efficiency projects at Village Court Apartments (VCA), Telluride Conference Center, and Heritage Parking Garage.
  • VCA staff has engaged an energy consultant to provide analysis to prove if conversion of the apartment complex to natural gas is economically feasible. If not, further analysis will include recommendations for efficiency measures to reduce electricity consumption in the units, such as programmable thermostats with thresholds for electricity use.
  • The town’s maintenance staff is working with an energy consultant to analyze potential efficiencies in plaza snowmelt systems and make recommendations for improvements in 2015.
  • The town is considering a new renewable energy project which entails installing solar panels on the town’s maintenance shop. Doing so may offset 100 percent of the energy used in this facility.
  • The town offered its community members three energy reduction incentive programs in 2014: Relight Mountain Village, community solar panel discounts, and rebates for on-site solar. These three programs are available to the community again in 2015.
  • The Mountain Village community is currently generating approximately 77,647 kilowatts per hour of rooftop solar energy (about 216 panels); purchased 193,058 kilowatts per hour (505 panels) of renewable energy at the community solar array in Paradox Valley; and purchased 22,316 Green Blocks (100 kilowatts per hour per block) of renewable energy from San Miguel Power Association in 2014.