Rebates available for 2015 for Holy Cross customers
BACHELOR GULCH — When the managers of Bear Paw Lodge took a serious look at their electric bills, they realized the lighting system had a bruin-sized appetite. Out-of-date lights at the luxury home and condo resort were eating up their time to replace burned-out bulbs, and they saw an opportunity to lower energy costs.
Bear Paw managers turned to Holy Cross Energy and its We Care energy efficiency program for help, just as hundreds of other businesses and households served by the electric co-op have done over the past nine years. The slope side Bachelor Gulch resort invested in high-efficiency LEDs for the common areas, parking garages, stairwells and ski lockers, which provided better light, were longer lasting, and resulted in energy bill savings of about $23,000 per year for the homeowners’ association.
A rebate of $31,500 from Holy Cross, plus $2,500 from Energy Smart Colorado, made Bear Paw’s total project investment a lot easier to swallow. With lower out-of-pocket costs, the whole project will pay for itself in less than three years.
Holy Cross Energy representatives said they hope to see more businesses and households make the same energy-saving moves.
Seeking deeper energy savings from its We Care program, the utility set a five-year goal in 2013 for its consumers to save 33,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year by 2017. That’s equal to all the electricity used per year by 2,457 homes in the Holy Cross service area, which spreads across Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties.
In 2014 alone, more than 1,000 energy upgrades done by 829 Holy Cross consumers will save 10,106 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, according to Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for Holy Cross Energy.
“This is on top of 6,241 megawatt-hours of annual savings from projects done in 2013, so we are halfway to our goal in the first two years,” Wiener said. “These savings will continue for years into the future.”
Rebates offset project costs
Holy Cross Energy provides expert help and rebates to help its residential and commercial consumers make these upgrades.
“We understand that people appreciate getting help to make smart decisions, and the rebates show our consumers that we are their partner in energy efficiency,” said Wiener.
Holy Cross paid out more than $1.1 million in rebates in 2014 to consumers to offset a portion of their investments in energy savings. Funding for the rebates comes from a 2 percent surcharge added to electric bills. Holy Cross staff visited more than 200 homes to provide complimentary home energy assessments, and Holy Cross helped pay for 68 Energy Smart Colorado home assessments. A total of 592 households made energy upgrades in 2014, said Wiener.
“LED lights and recycling old refrigerators were by far the most popular upgrades,” she said. “People also replaced leaky windows, switched to programmable thermostats, swapped out their old holiday lights for LED strings and installed heat-tape timers.”
Holy Cross also continued its partnership with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, which offers a home weatherization program to income-qualified households. In 2014, the NWCCOG crew made upgrades for 22 households, using a $46,000 contribution from Holy Cross.
LED lighting was the project of choice, delivering the added benefit of reduced maintenance.
“LED lighting is the hot ticket for businesses, lodges and condos,” said Wiener. “These projects deliver immediate energy savings and rapid payback on your investment. We expect to see a lot more lighting upgrades in 2015 as people see the superior quality of these new LED fixtures and bulbs.”
More rebate funding available
In the new year, more rebate funding is available to help Holy Cross consumers invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Power company officials say that even though upgrades mean less electricity sales, the savings help Holy Cross in the long run.
“We expect the savings from this years efforts to save Holy Cross $1.8 million dollars in power costs over the next five years,” said Del Worley, Holy Cross CEO. “Energy conservation means we don’t need to invest in costly new power plants, and it reduces the peak demand charges we pay our supplier. Conservation is the most cost-effective investment we can make.”
Consumers interested in learning more can call a Holy Cross Energy advisor at 970-947-5473 or visit http://www.holycross.com and click on “Rebates.”