2017 Plans & Accomplishments
ECOACTION PARTNERS 2017 DRAFT WORK PLAN & PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS
THE SAN MIGUEL POWER ASSOCIATION INCOME QUALIFIED WEATHERIZATION PROGRAM (SMPA IQ)
EcoAction Partners, in partnership with Energy Outreach Colorado, and San Miguel Power Association, is managing the SMPA Income Qualified (IQ) Weatherization Program, which targets low to mid-income residents in our region for energy efficiency improvements. Qualified renters or homeowners receive an energy assessment, prioritizing cost effective energy efficiency measures, which are then implemented. Once the weatherization is complete, the SMPA member is eligible for a free solar panel associated with their account in the new SMPA Income Qualified solar garden.
The 2016 goal for the SMPA IQ Weatherization program was to reach 12-15 residences in the first year. EcoAction Partners currently has 26 approved customers in the queue for service. Nearly all of the energy audits have been completed and the improvements are being coordinated. Additionally through this program, EcoAction Partners helped identify and enroll 7 participants in the very low-income State of Colorado Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) which provides increased services beyond the Income Qualified Program. These poverty-level families/individuals will be served through that program in the coming year.
EcoAction Partners will continue this program in 2017.
REGIONAL COMPOSTING PROGRAM
EcoAction Partners is in the process of completing a State of Colorado Department of Health and Environment Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) Planning Grant received to support our goal of creating a regional composting program. Once the planning grant is completed at the end of the year, EcoAction Partners will apply for an Implementation Grant for the Regional Composting Program. If EcoAction Partners receives the implementation grant with funding to support the infrastructure needed, a regional composting program will be implemented in 2017/2018.
Sneffels Energy Board: Ongoing Regional COORDINATION & COLLABORATION
Since 2009, EcoAction Partners has coordinated our regional energy board (previously known as the Western San Juan Regional Energy Board, now the Sneffels Energy Board) which includes representatives from: the governments of: Telluride, Mountain Village, San Miguel County, Ridgway, Ouray, Ouray County, Norwood and Ophir; as well as representatives from SMPA and Black Hills Energy (previously SourceGas), and community members.
The Sneffels Energy Board facilitates regional collaboration to reach sustainability goals, shares information from the Colorado statewide sustainability network, and researches successful programs from other communities as possible models to implement locally. Advantages of this regional approach include a stronger voice to influence political change, combined resources and greater economy of scale to apply for and implement grant programs, and sharing of experiences across the region.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INVENTORY & ENERGY USE ANALYSIS
As part of the work with the Sneffels Energy Board, EcoAction Partners is our region’s resource for gathering, updating and maintaining both jurisdiction specific, and regional, Greenhouse Gas Emissions data. This work began in 2010; the six years of data reflects our region’s economic, visitor and population fluctuations, in the context of the goal to reduce emissions.
EcoAction Partners works with the Sneffels board and each government’s Energy Action Coordinators (EACs) to interpret the results. The information is shared annually with each government and their communities to facilitate continued progress towards reduction goals. Ongoing analysis of the six years of energy use data is helping to determine success of energy efficiency programs, renewable energy projects, and where to continue to direct efforts for energy conservation.
NEW GHG REPORT IN 2017
EcoAction Partners will produce an Annual Report in a digestible format for the last 6 years of GHG emissions data for each participating jurisdictions as well as the regions’ overall GHG emissions. Electronic and printed copies of the reports will be made available.
Since tourism has dramatically increased, the board would like to see a growth factor for the number of visitors. Consider using housing units, flights, 2nd homeowners, lodging tax, waste water treatment, etc. Michael Martelon would be a great resource. Add the regional growth factor to the GHG report. Also provide an executive summary per town and for the region to the report.
Government Energy Use Analysis
Four of our regional governments use FacilityDude software to track and analyze government energy use. EcoAction Partners assists each EAC as needed with utility data upload, analysis, and identifying opportunities for reducing energy consumption at government owned facilities.
Building energy codes
EcoAction Partners continues to assist our region’s building departments with updating, interpreting, and applying building energy codes for new construction. With the goal of maintaining some consistency within the region, current priorities include assisting building departments that have not yet gone through the most recent update. Town of Telluride recently included updating Green Building Codes in their 2017 Goals and Objectives.
Greenlights LED Program
Lighting, particularly commercial lighting, is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gases because of the fantastic return on investment. Greenlights is an LED lighting program that contributes the SMPA LED bulb rebate (up to 50% off) in the up-front cost and provides participating governments’ residents a match a of50% of the SMPA rebate, helping residents buy LED light bulbs at up to 75% off. Greenlights is also available to our regional community partners. EcoAction Partners brought the program to the Town of Telluride, San Miguel County, and the Town of Ridgway in 2015. EcoAction Partners will be running Greenlights in October/November 2016 for the towns of Telluride, Ridgway, and the city of Ouray, as well as San Miguel and Ouray Counties.
In 2017, EcoAction Partners will be (hopefully) bringing Greenlights to the above jurisdictions as well as the towns of Rico, Nucla, Naturita, and Montrose County served by SMPA.
San Miguel Energy Forums
Biannually, EcoAction Partners coordinates Energy Forums. The 2016 San Miguel Energy Forum was a successful event. A group of regional energy and fuel leaders joined together on June 1st at the Mountain Village Town Hall and presented on an array of topics related to energy efficiency in homes and facilities, renewable energy opportunities, and alternative fuel vehicles, to name a few. Representatives from Black Hills Energy (previously SourceGas) and San Miguel Power Association presented on rebates and efficiency programs available. San Miguel Power Association recently launched an exciting Income Qualified “IQ” Weatherization and Solar Project, which will help qualifying homeowners and renters in the SMPA service area in reducing their electricity costs.
The 2016 forum was well attended by commercial and residential building managers of local hotel, condo, building management and HOA personnel. The panel discussion shared the latest in building efficiency to aid in saving money for their companies and clients, and to reduce their building’s footprint on the environment. View presentations from the panel on our website at http://www.ecoactionpartners.org/san-miguel-energy-forum
San Miguel Energy Forums promote the latest opportunities for lighting, weatherization and general commercial and residential building efficiency, and renewable energy opportunities, and recycling, composting, and special disposal. The EcoAction Partners 2016 San Miguel Energy Forum was sponsored by San Miguel Power Association, Black Hills Energy, San Miguel County, and the Towns of Mountain Village and Telluride.
In the future, need to include hotel and condo lodging managers, and perhaps provide continuing education (CE) training to make it more worthwhile. CE credit require a fee, which could help off-set forum expenses. On our website have each town listed and their programs.
Green Projects Grant Program
Green Projects Grant Program was a strategic grant program created by EcoAction Partners and San Miguel County in 2014 to demonstrate how potential funding can be used to measurably reduce greenhouse gases. Utilizing $100K from a one-time San Miguel County energy impact fee, EcoAction Partners and SMC solicited “incentive grants” that:
- Measurably reduced greenhouse gases
- Prioritized energy efficiency
- Leveraged other funding sources
Completed projects are listed below. All projects that were awarded funding will be completed in 2016 or 2017 or lose their funding.
If our government partners are interested, EcoAction Partners can make recommendations on a funding mechanism to continue a jurisdiction-specific Green Projects Grant Program.
Truth or Dare School Program
The Truth or Dare program was initially developed as an educational challenge for adults in our community to reduce their carbon footprint and develop lasting habits to decrease the amount of carbon emissions released during daily activities and home life. An equally important goal of the program was to estimate and quantify the amount of carbon emission reductions that were achieved during the course of the program. In 2014, the program was redesigned for 9-13 year olds and teens, and it was introduced to the Telluride Intermediate School with overwhelming approval. Over the course of a week students participate in the elective program earning points for their sustainability efforts. Through carpooling, walking or biking, using reusable containers (instead of single-use disposable bags), taking short showers (< 5 minutes), unplugging electric gadgets when not in use, and recycling, for example, the Telluride Intermediate School students significantly reduced their carbon footprints, saving money, energy, and waste. Since 2014, the program continues to gain traction, with more students participating, and greater carbon savings.
Thus far, in 2016, three intermediate schools in San Miguel & Ouray Counties (Telluride Intermediate School, The Telluride Mountain School, and the Ouray School) have participated. Students at these three schools collectively saved 15,704 pounds of carbon and they had fun doing it! This is the carbon equivalent to over 60,000 miles driven. Leadership students introduced the topic to their peers through skits to get them excited about the program. San Miguel Power Association donated great prizes to incentivize the students to participate. The Norwood and Ridgway Schools will host the program in the fall of 2016. We look forward to more success and greater carbon savings in 2017.
Green Business Certification Program
EcoAction Partners’ Green Business Certification is a holistic sustainability certification program designed to engage our regional business community to undertake smart environmental practices, and recognize businesses’ accomplishments. The certification program encourages energy efficiency, water conservation, waste diversion, land stewardship and renewable energy. EcoAction Partners works with each business to navigate, identify, prioritize, and select optimal sustainability actions. Once certified, EcoAction Partners showcases businesses’ sustainability accomplishments through a variety of marketing tools including: website listings on EcoAction Partners, towns and tourism board websites, window cling, certificate and events.
Certified Businesses and some highlights include:
- Inn at Lost Creek & Talay Grille: 50% Local sustainably-sourced organic food, guest room towel/linen saving program, 75% LED lighting, utility bill tracking, low-flow water fixtures.
- Boot Doctors/Paragon: LED lighting in all 3 stores, recycling of old boots & skis, and active education and engagement of staff in sustainability efforts.
- Fairmont Heritage Place: 100% converted in room washing machines to front loading with 1/3 the water savings, and 80% of shower heads have been replaced to low flow with 1-2 gallon per minute water savings.
- Luminosity: Is LEED Accredited Professional – 5 Completed LEED Projects nationally. In addition, several projects were certified with Green Star, a similar program based in Australia and they purchase carbon offsets for all travel.
- Telluride Naturals: 75% of products are locally crafted, require reusable bag purchase if request bag, all programmable thermostates, and all LED Lighting.
- Jagged Edge: On-site solar PV system, communication with suppliers to reduce packaging, recycling or return of all shipping products, CFL/LED lighting.
- La Cocina de Luz: 70% local sustainably-sourced organic food, on-site restaurant compost program, LED lighting, low-flow water fixtures.
- Alpine Bank (efforts across all offices in Colorado): LED lighting, programmable thermostats, extensive utility bill tracking, SMPA solar farm purchase, and working on tracking travel reduction as a result of videoconferencing use by staff.
- Ah-Haa School: Completed a full LED lighting retrofit, responsible art product reuse/disposal, responsible office management, bathroom remodel with low-flow fixtures.
- Telluride Historical Museum: LED lighting retrofit, storm window installation to reduce energy consumption (awarded Green Grant funding), power-down of all office equipment at night.
- San Miguel Power Association’s branch offices in Telluride & Ridgway: New LED lighting & programmable thermostats.
- Telluride Realty & Investment (TRI): This business operates from a sustainably-built, off-grid home on Hastings Mesa that was featured in EcoAction Partners Green Home Tour a few years ago. Their other focus is to promote energy efficient, sustainable homes in the region.
- RIGS Adventure Company in Ridgway, and Guide Garage in Ouray both use energy efficient fixtures among other sustainable practices.
- Others: Hotel Madeline, Telluride Resort Store, Picaya, Alternative Power Solar Enterprises, Lotus Energy Solutions, Reinhart Contracting, and the Wilkinson Public Library.
In 2017 EcoAction will be working on improving Green Business Certification. We will survey businesses on the value of Green Business Certification and how to make the program stronger and grow it. Eco cleaners? Too busy, enough staff? Get Green Business more visible/off the ground. Certify businesses that have already made green steps.
Push the program through the Telluride Visitors center as a way to help market it. Provide incentives to participate.
Revamp it. Make it seem easier. Create a pamphlet. Let’s not make businesses have to change if they already are green. It is a valuable program; make it better. Get more businesses to participate. Set higher participation goals.
The businesses must feel like they are gaining something by participating in this program.
Make sure the recertification seems easy enough. Not daunting.
For 2017 we will also work on “Green Rental/Lodging Certification”. Work with property management companies, etc. VRBO rentals, etc. Roll out in 2018. All VRBO’s have to have a business license. Program should be open to the housing rental market for the whole region.
Festival CRT Services on a fee-for-service basis
EcoAction Partners continues to provide festival and event compost, recycling and trash (CRT) services on a fee-for-service basis. In 2016, EcoAction Partners provided CRT services to: Mountain Film, Telluride’s Fourth of July Celebration, and Blues and Brews. EcoAction Partners will continue to offer Festival CRT services on a fee-for-service basis.
In 2017 EcoAction will be working with the Mountain Village Owners Association on reducing waste at the Sunset Concert Series and directing disposal.
Regional Spring/Fall Clean Up Assistance
EcoAction Partners provides assistance with the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County for our region’s Spring and Fall Clean-ups by providing paid and volunteer staff as well as promotion and publicity through the EcoAction Partner’s newsletter, and phone inquiries.
In 2017 EcoAction Partners will be taking over the Electronics recycling from San Miguel County. SMC will continue the Hazardous Waste Disposal, and the Town of Telluride will operate the general clean up.
ON-GOING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS
Alpine Bank Energy Efficiency Loan Program
Seeing a need to offer a way for individuals and families to finance energy efficiency improvements for their homes, EcoAction Partners approached Alpine Bank to create a loan product to fill this niche. Loans up to $8,000 unsecured are available (and greater amounts with collateral) for energy efficiency improvements. The loan payments can be structured over a length of time so that the energy savings, and thus utility savings, is greater than the loan payment, so the improvements provide a positive cash flow.
Clean Energy Collective
In the past EcoAction Partners has assisted the Clean Energy Collective in sales support for our regional community solar garden. Clean Energy Collective’s solar garden is now completely sold out. Once a new renewable energy project comes on-line, EcoAction will continue to partner with this organization to promote sales.
Co-promotion and support for regional sustainability efforts
EcoAction Partners continues to provide support for regional sustainability efforts through marketing and outreach on our newsletter (1,394 subscribers with a 26% open rate), website and other avenues.