Thursday, May 23, 2013

Top 5 Ned Energy Bright Ideas

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
I'd like to highlight the relationship between the top five bright ideas for our community.

1. The Solar Friendly Communities initiative:

Town Administrator, Alisha Reis and the
Nederland Board of Trustees accept the award
and street sign from Solar Friendly Communities staff
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot initiative (seeking to bring solar PV systems to be price competitive without subsidies) the Solar Friendly Communities initiative, aims to encourage the expansion of solar energy by reducing "soft" costs - including permitting, installation, regulatory and other related costs.

Soft Costs can account for up to 40 percent of a rooftop solar PV system, or about $2,500 to the cost of each residential system. Yet, solar energy systems are rapidly dropping in cost and thus becoming increasingly appealing to a broad range of citizens.

On our June 4th BOT meeting, Town Administrator, Alisha Reis and the Board of Trustees accepted a Solar Friendly Communities award on behalf of the Town for reaching the bronze level in their program. Nederland is the first municipality in Boulder County to receive the distinction. Because we have become a Solar Friendly Community, this program will also give an additional $500 to homeowners who install solar PV at their home. 

2. Our Envision Nederland 2020 vision statements:

Envision 2020 is woven with many sustainability measures to reflect our community's unwavering commitment to the environment. Combining the Solar Friendly Community initiative, with our vision for a Nederland local economy, provides our community with the opportunity to realize that vision.
In 2020, Nederland’s economy is local, community based, self-sufficient and is characterized by diverse and essential products, services and jobs that both support the local community and are mindful of potential impacts on the environment.
In 2020, Nederland supports its local businesses and works to attract new businesses that enhance local services while supporting local values, qualities and the 2020 vision.
Solar permits are easy on the Building & Construction page of our town's website, thanks to Town Administrator Alisha Reis, Town Clerk Michele Martin, and Eric Pendley from SafeBuilt.

By becoming a Solar Friendly Community, Nederland has reduced soft costs for homeowners. It is easier for local contractors to obtain permits, install solar PV systems, and have them inspected. This also allows homeowners to begin soaking up the benefits sooner.

3. Boulder County's EnergySmart Program:

Discussing the EnergySmart Program.  –  From Left:
Energy Efficiency Specialists Lea YancyJeremy Epstein
Mayor Joe Gierlach, Sustainability Coordinator 
Susie Strife
I attended the Colorado Energy Efficiency Summit at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden. The facility itself, is an example of one of the most energy efficient office buildings in the U.S.. One of the presenters, was Jeremy Epstein who explained Boulder County's EnergySmart Program. EnergySmart can help our Nederland community to increase the energy efficiency and comfort in our homes and businesses with assistance from EnergySmart Advisors, incentives and financing. They have set aside nearly $8 million to create a finance program to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings and stimulate local economic growth.

Elevations Energy Loans, provided in conjunction with the EnergySmart program, offer financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades for homes and businesses in Boulder County (sorry, no Gilpin County). They can be used for a wide range of upgrades, including: insulation, air sealing, heating, cooling, water heating, windows/doors, roofing, solar/renewable energy, appliances, lighting and energy management.  In order to qualify for Solar PV and other renewables under this loan, borrowers must achieve 15% energy efficiency improvement to the property.

In addition to Elevations loan officers, loan applications are reviewed by the EnergySmart staff to ensure they meet eligible measures. With a two hour turnaround time on residential loan applications, you can have access to financing by lunchtime with low-cost Energy Loans from Elevations Credit Union. All applicants are required to sign-up for the EnergySmart program and are encouraged to utilize the services of the program Energy Advisors.  These programs offer FREE energy advising in order to find the most beneficial energy saving actions for each participant. Advisors can also help participants locate contractors, compare bids, and take advantage of available rebates and incentives.

Energy Loans offer terms of 36, 60, 84 or 120 months. Energy Loans are offered at fixed interest rates, starting as low as 2.75%. Homeowners can apply for a minimum loan of $500. Business loans start at $1,000 and go up from there. A $25 membership fee is applied.

4. Celebrating Energy Independence Day on the 4th of July:

As previously mentioned in: Adapting Our Community to Climate Change, we are moving along with preparations for Energy Independence Day on the 4th of July. This community-wide event supports all three legs of the stool; Environmental, Economic, and Social Sustainability. It's a celebration of what we are doing as a community to move closer to our 2020 vision.

The day includes the Pickin' Picnic Potluck at Guercio Ball Field – acoustic music, community-wide picnic, aerial performances by Orphan Circus, and Barrel Wars for the 100 year anniversary of the Nederland Fire Protection District – all followed by the LED Light Parade at dusk. If you haven't been by the Barker Reservoir lately, the site will be completely transformed by the 4th of July. Contact FDGD Event Coordinator, Amanda at for more details, vending opportunities, or if you would like to participate.

5. Our Nederland Community:

As I met with Boulder County staff, Energy Efficiency Specialist, Lea Yancey, mentioned that there are 44 homes and 37 businesses in Nederland who are participating in the EnergySmart service. We'd like to see Nederland have a high participation rate, so I'm encouraging residents in our area to continue to call EnergySmart at 303-544-1000 (for homes) or 303-441-1300 (for businesses) or visit their website for more information.

[Here is a Video Valediction] This is one hit wonder, Timbuk3The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades. (a guy named Ernest Salazar posted it with nuclear images) [What is a Video Valediction?]
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