Main Street Program helps Grand County businesses
Seven area businesses are taking part in a program designed to shrink their energy bills under a program entitled Main Street Energy Efficiency Initiative. “We had vintage 1980s lighting that we wanted to bring up to 2011 standards of energy efficiency,” says Chas McConnell, owner of McConnell Printing, WP Athletic Club and Never Summer Development.”We will be installing motion detectors that turn lights on and off, saving energy when no one is there to use it. We expect our energy bills to go down dramatically.”Other businesses in the program include Cooper Creek Square, Nest Artistic Home, Kut Above, the Moose Creek Caf in Walden and Winter Park Chateau.The Chateau is still in the process of installing programmable thermostats to save heat at night and at times when the guest rooms in the B&B are not occupied. This initiative will also give the Chateau a financial break on replacing many older light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs). “It will make a big difference,” says owner Laura Lewis. The Moose Creek Caf in Walden is the only Jackson County business in the program so far, but owner James Carothers, who is also the mayor of Walden, is getting the word out to his neighbors.”In the past five years, we have done considerable updating, and we had several energy audits and upgrades ahead of this grant,” says Carothers, who added that the Moose Creek Caf used to be an old gas station that became a restaurant in the 1980s. “Since our energy efficient upgrades, our electric bill dropped 50 percent!”The Caf has also invested a substantial amount of money on energy-efficient appliances and a new water heater, and the monthly gas bill has dropped from $1,800 to $800. Other energy upgrades include replacing indoor and outdoor lighting with CFLs and adding insulation to the roof and building.The program covers 50 percent of the equipment costs for upgrading lighting and thermostats. Businesses may receive up to $2,000 in funding. In total $14,450 has been reserved for local businesses. As of early July, $47,000 was still available to businesses that replace inefficient lighting, install programmable thermostats and/or tune up HVAC equipment.Grand County Business and Economic Development (BEDA) was awarded a grant that allows businesses to access the state run program, but time is of the essence. In order to complete all the requirements, interested businesses need to act now. The program is offered on a first-come-first-served basis, and requires participating businesses to:• Fill out an application.• Arrange for an energy audit for your business from Mountain Parks Electric.• Review the results of the assessment and seek bids from a contractor to perform the recommended upgrades.• Submit the application, assessment and bids to email@example.com. You will be notified as to your status in the rebate reservation pool.• Installed equipment must meet Main Street requirements and be completed by Sept. 25. • You must attend an Energy Management Training Session.In a further effort to support local contractors and businesses, BEDA is sponsoring a business-efficiency workshop on Wednesday, July 27, from 8-10 a.m. at the Mountain Parks Electric Community Room in Granby. (A light breakfast will be served.) Speakers from Tri-State, Generation and Power, Xcel Energy and Mountain Parks Electric will present their energy-efficiency programs and detail how businesses can participate. Franklin Energy will discuss retail lighting applications, and describe their experiences in other mountain communities. The workshop is free and sponsored by BEDA. The Main Street Efficiency Initiative, workshop and this article are supported by the Department of Energy. For more information, visit gcbeda.com.
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Winter Park Resort and Trestle Bike Park will open for the summer on Saturday, bringing back mountaintop happy hours at the Sunspot Lodge and Colorado’s longest alpine slide.