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Vail energy audits saving money at homes, businesses

Energy Smart Colorado saves state residents nearly $3.4 million per year on utility bills

Across the state, improvements aided by Energy Smart Colorado save home and business owners nearly $3.4 million per year on utility bills.
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What does it mean? According to a report from the Energy Smart arm of Walking Mountains Science Center, the town of Vail has reduced its carbon emmissions by an average of 518 metric tons per year over the past five years. That’s the equivalent of emissions from: 110 passenger vehicles driven for a year 1.285 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

VAIL — An energy evaluation can pay dividends. In Vail, those dividends can double.

During a report this week to the Vail Town Council, Nikki Maline, the energy programs director at the Walking Mountains Science Center, detailed the last year of the regional Energy Smart program.

The  program provides energy evaluations and coaching for both homes and businesses. The program also provides information and referrals for work on energy-saving items. Rebates are available for many of those items, from energy-efficient lighting to heating units.

Vail residents and business owners are eligible for double rebates — up to $1,000 per year for homes and up to $2,000 per year for businesses. Vail residents and businesses are also eligible for free energy audits, which can cost $200.

In Vail, the program accounted for a carbon emissions reduction of 520.7 metric tons in 2019. That was 37% of the reduction over the entire “local area” — the central mountains. In all of Colorado, program projects bring nearly $3.4 million in annual utility bill savings.

The program was started in 2010. Since 2015, the program in Vail has done several home assessments per year, peaking at 36 in 2018. The program did only 18 Vail home assessments in 2019, something Maline said she intends to improve through more marketing, from social media to door to door visits.

Vail Mayor Dave Chapin, an owner of Vendetta’s restaurant in Vail Village, said that business benefited from an energy audit.

Like many ideas, “this one came from my staff,” Chapin said. The restaurant was doing some remodeling, and was able to incorporate efficiency changes as part of that work.

“We got a nice little check” from the rebates, Chapin said, adding that between the rebates and the energy savings, the restaurant has already gotten its money back from the improvements.

 “I encourage all businesses to look into it,” Chapin said. “It’s a great program.”

Councilman Brian Stockmar said he had an energy audit at his home, and found it “very useful,” adding “I’ve been encouraging my neighbors to do the same thing.”

Councilwoman Kim Langmaid founded Walking Mountains, and is a fan of the program.

An audit “gives you a prioritized list of things you can do,” Langmaid said. That comes in handy when a home or business owner is ready to act, she said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.


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