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.

Mountain Village relaunches its LED instant rebate program after much success in 2014

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

It’s lights out on the traditional light bulb for the Rocky Mountain town of Mountain Village. Mountain Village announced today that it is offering its residents and business owners yet another 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 program Relight Mountain Village provides instant rebates and exclusive offers to those who purchase LEDs at greenlivingtown.com. The online order period begins March 1 and will run until midnight April 5. Program participants can expect to save up to 75 percent for each LED bulb they purchase.

“Based on the excellent response from the community in 2014 we are launching the program again in 2015 with even more opportunity for the large commercial sector,” stated Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “More importantly, this effort is engaging the community while making more people conscious about their energy use. As a bonus, the success of this program has encouraged other communities to follow suit and create their own LED incentive program, including Telluride and San Miguel County.”

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 are limited to 50 common LEDs 300 lumens or greater. 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.

Bight Lights, Big Profits

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.

“Results of switching to an energy-efficient light source like an LED are promising,” said SMPA Accounts Executive Ken Haynes. “For instance, if you were to replace 50 60-watt bulbs in your home that run an average of three hours each day, you have the opportunity to save about $30 each month on your electricity bill. It is because of this that we decided to expand our relationship with Mountain Village and collaborate with them. With our shared commitment to developing programs that work for our members, Relight Mountain Village truly is 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.

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