Practically Green Program in Grand County reduces energy waste |

Practically Green Program in Grand County reduces energy waste

Cindy Kleh
Special to the Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

There’s nothing complicated or earthshaking about Grand County’s Practically Green program, founded in March of 2010. The basic goal of the program is to educate county employees about ways to cut energy waste throughout the normal workday – the little things, like turning off lights and computer monitors that aren’t in use, and making more use of natural light by unscrewing some of the ceiling bulbs.

But those little things can add up to big savings. Just unscrewing one light bulb in one office saves county taxpayers about $7 per year, and it continues to save for years to come. Being diligent about always shutting off computer monitors, printers and scanners during non-operating hours can cut county waste of $10-$25 per month, per office. Replacing incandescent bulbs in a few older exit signs at the county jail with LED retrofit bulbs saves about $3 per year per light bulb. Reducing heat loss in the jail by installing and repairing weather stripping is another example of a simple and inexpensive way to lower the county’s winter energy bills.

The idea for the program originated in a Sonoran Institute “Community Energy Futures” workshop that was attended by Grand County commissioners Nancy Stuart and Gary Bumgarner, Liz McIntyre and Becky McBride of the Business Economic Development Association, Tim Hosdson of Infinite West, and the County’s Planning Director Kris Manguso.

“We received a scholarship from the Sonoran Institute, so there was no cost to the county, said Stuart. “One of the speakers brought to our attention how many small things, such as turning off lights when you leave a room and turning off your computer, save a large amount of energy in a year. We came home and decided to start the ‘Practically Green’ project.”

“We encourage employees to conserve on energy by reminding them with posters, fliers and cartoons,” said Cecilia Peterson, coordinator of the Practically Green program. “We post suggestions around the government offices near light switches and in the employee newsletter and website.”

Because the Practically Green program has just barely completed a year, the county now has a baseline to compare with future years and with the implementation of new energy-saving ideas.

“The Practically Green Team will continue working on improving the ways we save energy,” Peterson said. “I want to thank Mountain Parks Electric. They have been auditing the county buildings and giving us good information and ideas on how to save energy.”

Many of the energy-saving ideas generated by the Practically Green program can be adapted for use at home by Grand County residents. Post reminders near light switches and computers to remind your household to waste less energy. The “little things” can add up to big savings on your utility bill over time as these suggestions become everyday routines.

If you have a good energy tip like the ones mentioned here, please share it with us. BEDA is putting energy tips together to create a common-sense Code of the West (C.O.W.) for Grand and Jackson Counties. Submit your tip at Energy-saving tips will be collected throughout the summer, and tippers will all be entered into a drawing to win a free energy assessment of your home or small business.

And mark July 27 down on your calendar to attend an energy efficiency workshop sponsored by BEDA. Businesses, facility managers and contractors can learn more about energy efficiency at this workshop from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Mountain Park Electric’s community room.

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