Earth Day: looking back and forward, and how you can help

Earth Day provides an opportunity to look back on our accomplishments of the past year, and to set intentions for the next.

It’s been a busy year for Garfield Clean Energy, especially when it comes to increasing energy efficiency in buildings. Thanks largely to our flagship ReEnergize Garfield County program and our first-ever Get Your Home Ready for Winter campaign, GCE facilitated 124 residential efficiency projects, yielding $67,000 annual energy cost savings. That’s money put back into Garfield County residents’ pockets and recirculated in the local economy.

ReEnergize Garfield County helps low- and moderate-income households lower their utility bills and make their homes healthier and more comfortable. Qualifying residents can receive up to $2,000-$4,000 (depending on income) toward energy-efficiency measures. By the way, ReEnergize still has some money to give out in 2024 – click here for info.

GCE energy coaches have also assisted some important commercial building projects in the past year. We were proud to have played an essential role in enabling Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork’s Rifle project, Wapiti Commons, to achieve net-zero status. Other projects, such as RFTA’s conversion of a Glenwood Springs motel into employee housing, offered the opportunity to make existing buildings much more efficient.

Meanwhile, we’ve been helping local municipalities update their building energy codes, track their energy use and lower their energy bills (the city of Rifle is projected to save $11,000 a year).

On the transportation front, we’ve spearheaded the development of an EV-readiness plan to prepare Garfield County for an electric-vehicle future. Through our association with Clean Energy Economy for the Region, we’re participating in regional efforts to work toward integrated clean mobility, promote electric vehicles and expand the network of EV charging stations.

With that said, we’ve got a long to-do list for 2024, guided by the 2023 Energy Action Plan for Garfield County. The plan sets five overarching goals to achieve by 2030, and that means we’ll have to make – and measure – significant annual progress on each of them.

Probably the heaviest lift is the first goal: reducing energy consumption in the built environment by 1.5% per year, or 12% by 2030. That’s going to require doing all the things we’ve been doing, and more – more residential energy coaching, more commercial consulting, more rebates and financing options, more and better energy data monitoring.

We invite you to be part of this work! Every one of us uses energy, and it makes both environmental and financial sense for us to use it more efficiently and affordably.

Our staff are here to help. If you’re a homeowner or renter, please see our residential page to sign up for free energy coaching and to learn about home energy assessments and other forms of assistance. If you own a business or commercial property, you can tap into free energy consulting to improve your bottom line via our commercial page

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, plan on attending one of our Plug It In EV Roadshow events to learn about electric vehicles in a hands-on setting. If you’re looking for an even more affordable and less impactful way to get around, check out the eBikeThere Garfield program and see if you qualify for a brand-new e-bike for just $150. And hey, now that the weather’s getting warmer it’s a great time to walk and bike more, and drive less.

Happy Earth Day – here’s to a cleaner, greener 2024!