Mountain Village Environmental Initiatives Lead The Way To The New Normal

New Normal

Words by Bill Kight / Environment

Mountain Village may cover just over 3 square miles but the small community has big ambitions to help fight climate change, starting at home. Over Memorial Day Weekend, the town will shine a spotlight on its Green Gondola Project, and launch four programs to reward local residents for conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.

These cutting-edge initiatives are part of a grassroots, community-wide movement to work toward The New Normal — the Telluride region’s audacious goal of achieving carbon neutrality.

The New Normal movement sprung from Mountainfilm, the annual film festival premiering Memorial Day weekend that has shared the powerful stories of grassroots movements for nearly four decades. As it pinpoints climate change as the defining issue of our time, the festival has identified specific ways the Telluride community can take simple, impactful steps to preserve the planet for future generations. Festival Director David Holbrooke says Mountainfilm can help propel action against climate change by leveraging the power of story to fuel innovation and community building.

“Can we do this? Can Telluride really go carbon neutral?” Holbrooke asks. “We don’t know, but given what is clearly happening to our planet, we have to try.”

The Mountain Village Resident Incentive Programs are one way the community is rising to the challenge, working to establish The New Normal. The town is investing more than $120,000 in four programs that educate and reward local residents and businesses for taking a range of environmentally friendly actions. The programs include:

  • SOLAR ENERGY: Mountain Village homes and businesses are awarded a rebate of $0.40 per watt for power generated by solar energy.
  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Mountain Village offers free controllers for heat trace systems, promising to save 30-50 percent of electricity costs per winter.
  • WATER CONSERVATION: Mountain Village is paying for the entire cost of efficient irrigation systems for lawns and gardens.
  • HEALTHY FORESTS: Mountain Village is reimbursing property owners up to $5,000 for creating defensible space that reduce wildfire risks.

“These incentive programs are a great way to engage local residents in meaningful actions to address climate change and improve the environment in our own community,” says Bill Kight, director of marketing & business development at Town of Mountain Village.

Kight notes that Mountain Village has a long history of environmental responsibility, from protecting area wetlands to working toward becoming Zero Waste. Mountain Village’s mandatory recycling programs, efforts to protect native plants from noxious weeds, green power initiatives, and electric vehicle charging stations contribute further to its status as a leader in the fight to protect the planet.

The gondola, of course, may be one of the most impactful and inspirational of Mountain Village’s commitments to green living and reducing the town’s carbon footprint. It’s certainly the most unique — the only form of free transportation like it in North America! Providing more than 2.6 million passenger rides annually, the gondola offers an efficient mode of transportation that reduces carbon emissions, resulting in cleaner air and a community that’s less reliant on cars.

The Green Gondola Project, launched a several years ago, has worked to offset the large amount of electricity needed to power the gondola with alternative energy sources by raising money from gondola riders. Key achievements of the Green Gondola Project to date:

  • Funds collected through the Project have been used to install LED lighting and on-site solar panels, and buy wind power to provide the electricity used to operate the gondola.
  • Since 2007, the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association has offset 100 percent of the gondola’s remaining traditional electricity needs with renewable energy Green Blocks purchased from its electricity provider, San Miguel Power Association. These Green Blocks support energy efficiency and renewable energy programs throughout the region. 200,000 Green Blocks of renewable energy have been purchased, offsetting 20 million kilowatt hours of dirty electricity.
  • The gondola’s solar panels now generate 240,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy and prevent 463,200 pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the environment annually.

“The renewable energy the gondola produces from solar panels is still a small fraction of the total it uses,” notes Kight, “but the goal is to reach 20 percent.”

In the face of daunting challenges presented by a warming planet, it’s important to celebrate the community-led initiatives that are making a difference on a small scale.

“The results of Mountain Village’s many green initiatives are powerful,” says Mountain Village mayor Dan Jansen. “They have cemented the town’s role as part of the vanguard actively working to fight climate change, and they help lay the groundwork for the Telluride region’s movement to establish The New Normal.”

To learn more about our incentive programs visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-living and for more information on the Green Gondola Project or to donate online, visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-gondola-project.

Town of Mountain Village Launching Resident Environmental Incentives

Mountain Village Scenic

Words by Bill Kight / Environment

Coinciding with this year’s Mountainfilm Festival theme, “The New Normal”, the Town of Mountain Village is announcing a handful of environmental incentives for residents. The New Normal focuses on how communities can work together to combat climate change, making seemingly small changes that collectively add up to have a larger impact on the environment.

“Mountain Village has long been a proponent of creating a greener community, and this is most evident by our free pedestrian Gondola, which has been providing a greener method of transportation for the community for more than 20 years,” said Bill Kight, director of marketing and business development for the Town of Mountain Village. “These new resident incentives speak to the importance of coming together as a community to address the larger issue of climate change. This really is the “New Normal” for us as a society, and we want to reward our residents for reducing their carbon footprint and working to affect climate change.”

Mountain Village Resident Incentives
The resident incentives focus on solar energy, energy efficiency, water conservation and forest health, and the Town is investing more than $120,000 in providing these incentives to its residents.

  • Solar Energy – This incentive program offers a rebate of $.40 per watt for power generated by the sun on participating Mountain Village homes and businesses.
  • Energy Efficiency – The Heat Trace Incentive Program offers a free heat trace system controller to each participant. These will improve the efficiency of heat trace systems commonly applied on roofs and gutters, and controls can result in residents saving between 30 and 50 percent of electricity costs per winter.
  • Water Conservation – When it comes to water, the Town asks that you use what you need, and will also pay for the entire cost of an EPA WaterSense certified smart irrigation control system with weather-sensing capability for a lawn or garden.
  • Forest Health – Climate change directly impacts wildfire risk, as forests are becoming drier and there is an increased chance of fire. When residents create defensible space on their property to reduce that risk, the Town will reimburse residents up to $5,000.

“As a community, it is important to educate and reward our residents for doing the right thing rather than regulating them into compliance, and our incentive programs do just that,” continued Kight. “Additionally, we are a firm believer of practicing what we preach to our residents and invite them to join our efforts to reduce our community’s impact on the environment through these incentive programs.”

According to Mountainfilm Festival David Holbrooke, “Mountainfilm’s New Normal initiative is designed to lower the Telluride region’s carbon footprint so we are really gratified that Mountain Village is taking real and substantive action to combat climate change.” In addition to residential environmental incentives, people can also address the New Normal simply by taking the Gondola, as part of the Green Gondola Project also launching during Mountainfilm.

Green Gondola Project
The Gondola has long been a mainstay of the Mountain Village and Telluride communities, providing a greener and energy efficient transportation option for roughly 2.61 million passenger rides per year. Electricity used to operate the Gondola comes from on-site solar energy and wind power purchased through from the San Miguel Power Association and prevents an estimated 45,000 tons of carbon dioxide in vehicle emissions from entering the environment annually. The Green Gondola Project is funded in part by donations by the community and visitors. To help combat the New Normal, check out donation boxes at Gondola stations in Telluride and Mountain Village.

Throughout Mountainfilm, Mountain Village representatives will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the Town’s dedication to The New Normal and how collectively the community can help combat climate change. Additional facts and information on the incentives programs can be found at townofmountainvillage.com/green-living and for more information on the Green Gondola Project or to donate online, visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-gondola-project

Smart Irrigation Controls Incentive Program entices residents to conserve water

Smart Irrigation Controls

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment, Utilities

Mountain Village launches its sixth and final environmental incentive program for 2016. The premise behind the town’s newest incentive – Smart Irrigation Controls – is to help water customers use only the water they need to achieve desired results on their property. Globally, water is becoming an increasingly scarce and precious resource, and water use data indicates that water conservation efforts may be most effective during the summer irrigation season, when a drastic increase in water usage occurs for landscaping purposes. To assist with these efforts, Mountain Village encourages water customers to replace their outdated irrigation control system with a WaterSense® product, which includes weather-sensing capabilities. In turn, the town will cover the cost of the controller, up to $500.

“Although we absolutely support using enough water to keep your lawns healthy and flowers blooming, we want to encourage the smart use of water that incorporates local weather data to ensure only the necessary amount is being used,” explained Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “This is another example of how technology is helping us to reduce waste and conserve resources.”

In this case, the technology is WaterSense®, certified smart irrigation control products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. According to Drew, smart irrigation controllers use real-time local weather data, including humidity, air temperature, wind speed, soil moisture, solar radiation and rainfall to calculate evapotranspiration rates and automatically adjust irrigation watering accordingly.

“Technology for such controls is advancing rapidly. There are currently several irrigation controls that carry the EPA WaterSense® label and incorporate local weather data to determine the amount of water needed for different irrigation zones,” said Drew.

Most smart irrigation controllers either connect to the Internet to gather weather data from a nearby weather station, or collect real-time weather data from an onsite station on one’s property. Some of these controllers can be monitored over the Internet and the settings controlled remotely, while others can be linked to other “smart” devices in one’s home. With a smart irrigation controller, plants and lawn get the water they need, without being over or under watered.

To learn more about the program and the necessary steps to take in order to receive up to $500 for replacing one’s irrigation control system, visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-living/incentive-programs/smart-irrigation-controls. And to explore other ways to prevent unnecessary water loss and to conserve water, follow townofmountainvillage.com/residents/water-conservation. This $20,000 incentive program is open until funds are exhausted, and is for residents of Mountain Village, Ski Ranches and West Meadows only.

Incentive programs make it easier for community to save in more ways than one

Incentive Programs

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Town of Mountain Village is investing over $170,000 in community incentive programs focused on the environment. The reason for doing so is simple and two-fold: Mountain Village wants to give its community members the power to make a difference and it’s much easier to make a larger impact together than alone.

“We prefer to reward folks for doing the right thing rather than regulating them into compliance,” said Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “Our incentive programs are a fun way to educate the community about our environment, and then engage them with meaningful actions to protect our outdoors and conserve our natural resources.”

All told, five of the six programs will launch on or around Memorial Day Weekend and are part of the town’s larger ethos of protecting the environment outside of its 3.27 square mile radius.

“What we do here extends way beyond Mountain Village Boulevard,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development. “We know these programs are teaching our community that small changes can have a large impact, which is why we’ve continued with three tried-and-true incentive programs and added three new ones for 2016. With all of this, we’ve also been able to partner with key organizations that are also changing the environmental landscape for the better and want to connect with our community to make it more sustainable. This is about going at this together in order to move the needle in the right direction.”

The following is a list of 2016 Mountain Village incentive programs and their associated launch dates. With the exception of Relight Mountain Village, all programs are open until funds are exhausted.

Heat Trace Incentive Program
Launch May 27, 2016 | $12,000 Funding
Mountain Village wants its residents to take control of their roof and gutter heat trace system. So the town is funding this new incentive program aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of heat trace systems commonly applied on roofs and gutters by offering a free system controller valued at $380. To take advantage of this free offering, Mountain Village residents will need to follow a few steps, which are totally worth it: using an estimated 25 amps and 230 volts supplying a heat trace system on a home without controls from November to March may cost a resident approximately $2,277 per zone. With the use of controls and a properly installed system, a resident may save 30- to 50-percent of their electricity costs per winter.

Solar Energy Incentive Program
Launch May 27, 2016 | $12,500 Funding
The Solar Energy Incentive Program is another creative way that Mountain Village encourages the responsible use of natural resources throughout the community. With that, the town is offering significant savings to those who install solar on their home or business. First launched in 2014, the Solar Energy Incentive Program offers a rebate of $0.40 per watt of installed power generated by the sun. This is in addition to San Miguel Power Association’s current rebate of $0.75 per watt and the current federal tax credit of 30 percent.

Noxious Weed Control Incentive Program
Launch May 27, 2016 | $7,500 Funding
Controlling noxious weeds in a high alpine environment takes the entire community’s support and due diligence. In 2015, the town distributed $10,000 in noxious weed control rebates to over 50 properties. For 2016, Mountain Village was awarded another $7,500 grant from Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Management Fund to incentivize Mountain Village property owners to manage noxious weeds on their properties. Property owners who professionally treat noxious weeds on their property are reimbursed 25 percent of their total bill, up to a maximum rebate amount of $250 per property.

Relight Mountain Village Incentive Program
Launch June 1, 2016 | $20,000 Funding
For the third year, Mountain Village is offering its residents and business owners an opportunity to save money and energy by switching from inefficient light bulbs to new light-emitting diode technology (LEDs). In partnership with San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) and Cooperative Business Lighting Partners, the Relight Mountain Village Incentive Program provides instant rebates and exclusive offers to those who purchase up to 50 LEDs at greenlivingtown.com. The 2016 online order period begins June 1 and will run until midnight July 31. Program participants can expect to save up to 75 percent for each LED bulb they purchase. In an effort to reduce waste, bulbs are delivered in bulk and available for pickup at Town Hall Plaza. Customers will be contacted via email regarding the specific date and time for this pickup event. Commercial businesses may participate in this program by first contacting SMPA’s Key Accounts Executive Paul Hora at phora@smpa.coop.

Wildfire Mitigation Incentive Program
Launch June 3, 2016 | $100,000 Funding
Mountain Village wants to help its residents create defensible space on their property in order to lower their wildfire risk. So the town, in partnership with the Telluride Fire Protection District, created the Wildfire Mitigation Incentive Program with Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and the West Region Wildfire Council as funding partners. Through this program, every homeowner received a postcard and a unique personalized website that informed them of their property’s wildfire risk rating using a variety of site data.

To learn more, Mountain Village will host the Wildfire Mitigation Forum June 3 beginning at 10 a.m. in Mountain Village Town Hall. At this forum, residents can learn about the risk of wildfire from experts and then sign up for a home site visit with the town’s forester and a wildfire mitigation specialist in order to learn how one can reduce their individual wildfire rating risk by creating defensible space. Mountain Village will reimburse a property owner 50 percent of their total defensible space project cost up to $5,000 per property. This program is for existing Mountain Village homes, not new home construction.

Smart Water Controls Incentive Program
Launch August 2016 | $20,000 Funding
Mountain Village’s newest program for 2016 intends to educate the community about ways to prevent water loss, both inside and outside the home, and will encourage property owners to install devices on their water systems to eliminate water waste and conserve. The Smart Water Controls Incentive Program will reimburse the homeowner’s full cost of an Environmental Protection Agency-approved WaterSense irrigation controller installed on lawn irrigation systems. These smart controllers use real-time local weather data, including humidity, wind speed, solar radiation and rainfall, to calculate evapotranspiration rates and automatically adjust irrigation watering accordingly. All residential properties in Mountain Village, West Meadows and Ski Ranches are eligible for this program, and the town will reimburse the homeowner for all controllers needed to serve the entire property.

For more information about each incentive program, visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-living/incentive-programs.

 

New program offers residents an incentive to better manage heat trace system

Heat Trace Incentive Program

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Town of Mountain Village wants its residents to take control of their roof and gutter heat trace system. So the town is funding a new incentive program aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of heat trace systems commonly applied on roofs and gutters by offering a free system controller valued at $380.

“These systems are heating elements that are applied to gutters, valleys and eaves of roofs to prevent ice damage,” explained Building Official Randy Kee. “Although they get the job done more times than not, these types of systems often run when they aren’t needed, thereby wasting electricity. We want to create a safer, more efficient system with a state-of-the-art electrical controller.”

To take advantage of this free offering, Mountain Village residents will need to follow a few steps. First, a resident will need to hire a Colorado-licensed electrical contractor to inspect their heat trace system. Second, the resident will need to ask their contractor to email the heat trace inspection report with suggested improvements to them and to Kee. Third, Kee will review the report and contact the resident if it is determined that their home, based on the report’s findings, would benefit from improved controls. If it does, the town will offer one free controller for the electrical contractor to install. The final step: enjoy the savings.

According to Kee, using an estimated 25 amps and 230 volts supplying a heat trace system on a home without controls from November to March may cost a resident approximately $2,277 per zone. He said often a home has at least two zones. With the use of controls and a properly installed system, a resident may save 30- to 50-percent of electricity costs per winter, weather dependent.

The $12,000 Heat Trace Incentive Program is open until funds are exhausted. For more information, contact Kee at rkee@mtnvillage.org or 970.369.8246 and visit townofmountainvillage.com/residents/incentive-programs/heat-trace-incentive-program. This program is part of the town’s larger environmental incentive program, which in 2016 includes four others, as a means for Mountain Village residents to make lifestyle and environmental changes in order to help them save in so many ways.

Mountain Village is green country

Green Gondola Project

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

What color is Mountain Village? The correct answer is not beige, as one visiting journalist suggested (after an all-too-cursory look-see). Somehow he missed the white. Mountain Village is an embarrassment of snow white this winter, perhaps from some breaking open of its karmic piggybank. And he missed the green, green as in sustainable, energy efficient, and environmentally conscious.

In 2009, Mountain Village adopted the State of Colorado’s Climate Action Plan goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations 20 percent by the year 2020. To reach this ambitious goal, the town implemented a long list of efficiency and conservation projects in all government buildings and facilities, including the gondola, where all lights were upgraded to LEDs. This project alone reduced the electricity used for gondola lighting by 70 percent and carbon emissions by 100 tons annually.

By 2015, Mountain Village achieved a 22 percent reduction in emissions, five years ahead of schedule.

Green Gondola Project
Opened in December 1996, the gondola that operates between “uptown” (Mountain Village) and “downtown” (Telluride) is, as conceived, a green-leaning machine: by hauling roughly 2.5 million passengers each year for free, it keeps cars off the road and prevents an estimated 45,000 tons of carbon dioxide in vehicle emissions from entering the environment annually. (The drive between Mountain Village and Telluride is eight miles.)

What’s more, the gondola’s very existence is in keeping with the vision of the founders that Mountain Village, incorporated in 1995, one day becomes a pedestrian-friendly community where guests can leave their cars behind and access the surrounding mountains by a free and environmentally-friendly public transportation system.

“The gondola is an integral part of the Mountain Village lifestyle,” explained Deanna Drew, Mountain Village’s environmental services director. “It deserves to be as green as possible.”

But the gondola, a solution, also became part of the problem: it takes energy a lot of energy – approximately two million kilowatt hours of electricity a year or nearly half of the Mountain Village government’s total electricity demands – to run the popular people-moving machine.

Enter the Green Gondola Project, which for the past four years has further assisted with the reduction of emissions from the gondola as it allowed the town to raise money through online donations, collection boxes at terminals, and other programs to offset the large amount of electricity that is needed to power the gondola with alternative energy sources.

To date, funds collected through the Green Gondola Project have opened the door for significant solar panel installation on gondola terminals: 160 solar panels at Station St. Sophia and Station Village Parking, bringing the total amount of clean green energy generated annually by the sun to about 60,000 kilowatt hours. Count the zeroes: that’s a significant amount of electricity.

So with the Green Gondola Project’s success, the need for public donations comes to an end; the project has served its environmental purpose well. Mountain Village is now using town funds collected from its green building program and miscellaneous energy rebates and grants to pay for the installation of additional solar panels throughout town. Of course, these efforts will continue to drive Mountain Village’s 22 percent reduction in emissions northward.

And, as Mountain Village has done since 2007, the town continues to offset 100 percent of the gondola’s remaining traditional electricity needs with renewable energy Green Blocks purchased from its electricity provider and partner, San Miguel Power Association.

While no doubt central to the overall plan, the Green Gondola Project is not the whole sustainable story. Other Mountain Village environmental programs include a residential and commercial rooftop solar rebate program; Relight Mountain Village, a highly subsidized program designed to encourage property owners to replace inefficient light bulbs with LEDS; a community noxious weed control incentive program; water conservation incentive program; and a new wildfire mitigation incentive program with the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and Telluride Fire Protection District as partners.

“Mountain Village is taking steps to reduce our community’s impact on the environment by leading by example and using carrots rather than sticks. Our current Town Council is very supportive of conservation initiatives, and that is something we can all be proud of,” Drew said.

Mountain Village greens its gondola with energy-efficient LED lighting

Relight Mountain Village

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Mountain Village gondola to Telluride is already a green machine: its existence keeps cars off the road and prevents an estimated 45,000 tons of carbon dioxide in vehicle emissions from entering the environment annually.

However, this spring the alpine resort community, Mountain Village, took their greening one step further by installing energy-efficient LED lighting throughout all gondola terminals, a project that is expected to reduce the electricity used for lighting by 70 percent and overall carbon emissions by another 100 tons per year.

“Many thanks to the Mountain Village gondola maintenance staff who worked diligently throughout the spring closure to install the new lighting in time for summer. As the region’s number one tourist attraction, the gondola serves 2.5 million riders every year and is an excellent opportunity to promote energy efficiency to our residents and guests alike,” said Deanna Drew, the town’s environmental services director.

The Town of Mountain Village was incorporated in 1996 to compliment the historic community of Telluride and to host the world-class Telluride Ski and Golf Resort. Moreover, it was always a vision of the original founders that the town be a pedestrian-friendly community where guests can leave their car behind and access the surrounding mountains by a free and environmentally-friendly public transportation system.

“The gondola is an integral part of the Mountain Village/Telluride lifestyle,” explained Drew. “It deserves to be as green as possible.”

Mountain Village hired longtime resident and energy-efficient lighting design expert Chris Myers from enLIGHTen of Telluride for the project. In total, 338 fixtures and bulbs were upgraded, which are estimated to reduce the gondola’s overall electricity by five percent and save over 100,000 kilowatt hours per year.

”The newer more inviting LED lighting not only saves electricity and reduces carbon emissions, it also improves the gondola appearance and experience,” said Myers. “It is really heartening to see our local governments take such strides in making intelligent decisions for saving energy and protecting our environment.”

The project cost approximately $30,000, with $12,000 reimbursed from San Miguel County through the Green Projects Grant Program, administered by EcoAction Partners, and another $10,000 in estimated rebates from San Miguel Power Association.

“The EcoAction Partners Green Projects Grant Program was funded by San Miguel County through a one-time energy use fee. All awarded projects measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and other innovative means. Once all projects are complete, over one billion pounds of carbon will be reduced for the lifespan of the projects, which is typically 20-plus years,” said Drew.

In 2014 the Mountain Village government reduced its overall energy use and greenhouse gas emissions 22 percent below 2010 levels, including a five percent reduction in gondola emissions. Before the grant and rebate are applied, the project has a simple payback period of 2.2 years and a 46 percent return on investment.

Second and final 2015 LED bulbs sale begins Monday; over 3,700 bulbs sold in March and April

Relight Mountain Village

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

Mountain Village announced today that it is offering its residents and business owners a second opportunity in 2015 to save money and energy by switching from inefficient light bulbs to new light-emitting diode technology (LEDs). In partnership with San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) and Cooperative Business Lighting Partners, the program Relight Mountain Village provides instant rebates and exclusive offers to those who purchase LEDs at greenlivingtown.com. The online order period begins June 15 and will run until midnight July 31. Program participants can expect to save up to 75 percent for each LED bulb they purchase.

“With many new community members participating in the program this year, we are confident that the pool of rebate money will run out before the end of the last order period,” observed Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “And it is not clear if SMPA will continue to offer their LED rebates in 2016, so now is the time to take advantage of this energy and cost-saving program.”

In an effort to reduce waste, bulbs will be delivered in bulk and available for pickup at Town Hall Plaza. Customers will be contacted via email regarding the specific date and time for this pickup event.

As for program rules, participants can order up to 50 common LEDs 300 lumens or greater per meter per year. This limitation ensures that everyone has the opportunity to change the environmental landscape and their monthly electricity bill for the better. Other types of bulbs such as tube lighting and bulbs less than 300 lumens have different rebate guidelines and amounts, which will be automatically calculated during the online ordering process.

Once LED bulbs are installed Drew suggests placing any unwanted incandescent light bulbs in the trash, but warns that fluorescent tubes and compact florescent bulbs contain mercury, a hazardous material that must be properly recycled or disposed of according to San Miguel County guidelines. For more details, visit lamptracker.com. One can also sell or donate their old bulbs and fixtures that still work.


2015 Relight Mountain Village Results

Once again, Relight Mountain Village has proven that the Mountain Village community cares about using energy wisely and is committed to reducing its overall energy demand. Following are the results from the 2015 winter LED bulb sale.

• Total town rebate amount: $11,258
• Total SMPA rebate amount: $22,561
• Total number of LED bulbs purchased: 3,761
• Total number of Mountain Village/SMPA customers: 63
• Total number of residential customers: 56
• Total number of commercial customers: 7
• Top three most popular LED bulbs: standard bulb (1), can lights (2), track lighting (3)
• Total amount of annual greenhouse gas emissions avoided: 107 metric tons of carbon dioxide
• Total number of trees saved: 21,786
• Total acres of trees planted: 52
• Total number of cars off the road: 16
• Total annual energy cost savings: $33,599
• Total annual energy usage reduction: 84% or 244,360 kilowatt hours
• Average pay back period after rebate: 5 months
Bight Lights, Big Profits in 2014

In 2014, all told, 94 residents and 27 business owners purchased over 4,800 LED bulbs through the Relight Mountain Village program. This translated to a four-month average pay back period and total annual energy cost savings of $71,362. The most popular LEDs purchased were can lights, standard bulbs, and dimmable table lamps and track lighting. Moreover, of the town’s $20,000 Relight Mountain Village rebate fund, $18,214 was applied at time of bulb purchase in addition to about $35,000 from the San Miguel Power Association rebate program.


Changing Landscape

Over the past few years the cost of LEDs has been steadily dropping while making immense gains in energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for about 10 percent of a home’s electricity use. Since LEDs typically use 75- to 80-percent less energy than the traditional varieties, upgrading one’s lighting source is a step in the right direction, and most of the newer bulbs sold in the U.S. have longer life spans – more than 20 years – so a continual savings is realized well into the future. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are three billion incandescent bulbs currently in use. In other words, American households could collectively save $6 billion on energy costs in 2015 alone by making the switch to more energy-efficient lighting.

According to SMPA, results of switching to an energy-efficient light source like an LED are promising. For instance, if one were to replace 50 60-watt bulbs in their home that run an average of three hours each day, they would save about $30 each month on their electricity bill, making Relight Mountain Village truly a win-win for those who participate.

Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen couldn’t agree more.

“Earmarking funds for the energy reduction program Relight Mountain Village show not only the local government’s long-term commitment to being part of the solution, but also the commitment of our residents, business owners and electric power cooperative.”

Relight Mountain Village, a $20,000 funded program, is part of the town’s energy reduction strategy.

Solar rebates available to Mountain Village residents and business owners who invest in renewable energy

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

In line with Mountain Village’s environmental ethos, the town is offering significant savings to those who install solar on their home or business. First launched in 2014, the Solar Energy Rebate Program awards those by offering a rebate of $0.40 per watt of power generated by solar. This is in addition to San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) current rebate of $0.75 per watt.

“Mountain Village wants to encourage its property owners to utilize renewable energy, and the town’s $0.40 per watt rebate along with the current federal tax credits and SMPA’s rebate of $0.75 per watt really improves the payback period for solar investments,” said Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew.

As for program rules, the town rebate applies to solar installations up to five kilowatts for residential properties and 10 kilowatts for commercial meters, which translates to a maximum rebate of $2,000 per meter for residents and $4,000 maximum rebate per meter for business owners. Residential and commercial owners may also receive a 30 percent federal tax credit. To get started, the town recommends contacting a Colorado solar professional or electrician to obtain a competitive bid.

“With the federal tax credit and SMPA rebates set to expire in 2016 and the recent sellout of the SMPA community solar array, now is the time in invest in solar on your home,” explained Drew.

In 2009, Mountain Village pledged to support Colorado Governor Ritter’s Climate Action Plan goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20 percent by 2020. In 2014, the town government reduced its own GHG emissions 22 percent from 2010 levels. The town government measures greenhouse gases using the amount of fuel, electricity and natural gas consumed by government operations annually.

“This solar rebate program is another creative way that our government is encouraging the responsible use of natural resources throughout the community,” said Drew. “Once a home or business becomes as energy efficient as possible, we hope that folks will take the next step and offset their electricity from coal with cleaner, renewable sources of electricity.”

The Mountain Village Solar Energy Rebate Program, a $20,000 funded program, is part of the town’s overall energy reduction strategy.

Mountain Village hosts a regional, educational noxious weeds seminar; launches community weed control rebate program

Noxious Weeds

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

Controlling noxious weeds in the alpine environment of San Miguel County takes the entire community’s support and due diligence. To educate the populous on this issue, the Town of Mountain Village is hosting the San Juan Green Living Noxious Weeds Seminar June 5 beginning at 10 a.m. in Mountain Village Town Hall. This informative and educational event will provide San Miguel County property owners and landscaping professionals the opportunity to learn how to identify weeds, why to control weeds, best practices for treating weeds, and how Mountain Village is incentivizing its residents to manage weeds on their property.

“Last Fall Town Council asked staff to step up the enforcement of noxious weed control in the community,” said Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “Our 2015 program will include education and incentives for our property owners to control noxious weeds effectively, efficiently and according to the State of Colorado, San Miguel County and Town of Mountain Village regulations.”

The two-hour seminar will stream live at townofmountainvillage.com/video.

Community Weed Control Rebate Program

For 2015, the Town of Mountain Village was awarded a $10,000 grant from Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Management Fund to implement a rebate program incentivizing Mountain Village residential property owners to manage noxious weeds on their properties. Residents who hire a certified and licensed applicator to treat noxious weeds on their property may be reimbursed 25 percent of their total bill, up to a maximum rebate amount of $250 per property. Funds are limited, so rebates will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive a rebate, one must complete and submit a rebate application form that verifies the applicator’s license number and proof of payment.

In addition, for the 2015 weed season Mountain Village has hired Kenny Smith of Premier Weed Management, a qualified and licensed noxious weed control specialist, to assist with the treatment of weeds on residential properties in June and September. If a resident would like Smith’s assistance, they will need to complete and submit a consent form to the town. For added convenience, the town will apply the Community Weed Control Rebate to the cost of Smith’s services and invoice the resident directly.

“All property owners should know that commercial weed control applicators must be trained and licensed by the State of Colorado so that they are applying herbicide in a way that is both effective and least harmful to the environment,” explained Drew. “Our contractor is licensed and very experienced in high altitude weed management throughout the region.”

For more information about the San Juan Green Living Noxious Weeds Seminar and the Community Weed Control Rebate Program, contact Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew at ddrew@mtnvillage.org or 970.369.8236.

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