The Garfield Clean Energy Collaborative is Colorado's first clean energy authority. It offers a balanced mix of programs and services throughout Garfield County.
CLEER consults with local government facility managers to help improve building operations and workplace comfort, using efficiency and conservation. Our Active Energy Management approach focuses on low-cost and no-cost adjustments and upgrades, along with helping managers determine the cost-benefit of energy upgrades and new energy systems.
Facility managers can use CLEER’s Building Energy Navigator website to track energy use and energy spending trends in each of their buildings on a monthly and yearly basis. Buildings with “live data” feeds also display usage in 15-minute increments, giving managers quick feedback on operational adjustments, equipment breakdowns, and changes in weather and building uses.
The Navigator is also a public accountability tool that displays energy use, energy spending and renewable energy generation, and demonstrates progress toward lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Garfield Clean Energy hosts a one-stop-shop website packed with information that helps people take action to save energy. CLEER’s trained energy coaches provide free assistance to households and businesses to help them learn about energy saving options, work with contractors, maximize incentives, and find financing for their projects.
Garfield Clean Energy offers financing for residential energy upgrades through Funding Partners of Fort Collins. The loan fund was capitalized by $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings program grant to Garfield County. Homeowners can borrow $1,000 to $25,000 for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations.
CLEER’s expertise in renewable energy helped Garfield Clean Energy partners install 27 solar arrays on government buildings and facilities in 2009, 2010 and 2011, using the New Energy Communities Initiative funding. Two of these projects were expanded through the use of power purchase agreements.
CLEER continues to help local governments and businesses in Garfield County develop more renewable energy systems. For example, the Battlement Mesa Metro District, the Town of Silt and Roaring Fork High School are working with CLEER and Garfield Clean Energy to develop solar arrays that total more than 1 megawatt of generating capacity.
CLEER’s expertise in active transportation, fleet efficiency and alternative fuels is driving a robust program for Garfield Clean Energy. Projects include the annual Bike and Walk to School Challenge, the Western Slope CNG Collaborative, and work to expand the adoption of electric vehicles and build a regional public-access vehicle charging network.
In 2010, Garfield Clean Energy adopted targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy and petroleum independence, to be achieved by 2020. Also in 2010, CLEER conducted a countywide energy inventory. It showed that total spending for electricity, natural gas, propane, gasoline and diesel in Garfield County added up to $219 million per year.
In 2015, Garfield Clean Energy is revisiting the energy inventory, running the calculations again based on energy use in 2014. The results will show how close Garfield Clean Energy is to reaching its 2020 targets, and to achieving its mission of becoming the most energy efficient county in the United States.
Since Garfield Clean Energy has no staff of its own, CLEER also provides administrative and bookkeeping services, and supplies support staff services for the organization’s monthly board meetings. CLEER produces quarterly reports for the Garfield Clean Energy board summarizing the activities and results of work in each of the program areas.
In 2008, CLEER envisioned a regional clean energy partnership to serve Garfield County, modeled on the success of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), which served Pitkin County and the Roaring Fork Valley. During that year, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and then-Gov. Bill Ritter’s Governor’s Energy Office offered the New Energy Communities Initiative, a $10 million statewide program.
Operating under a venture grant from CORE, CLEER seized the opportunity and helped nine local government partners in Garfield County join together to apply for funding. In November 2008, the state awarded $1.6 million to the Garfield County partners, which was matched by $500,000 in local government funding.
Garfield County served as the fiscal agent for what was called the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative. Under a contract, CLEER developed and rolled out a package of programs and services to launch a robust clean energy program serving households, businesses and the local government partners from Parachute to Carbondale. The Initiative continued through 2011.
Using CLEER’s expertise, the local government partners formed the Garfield Clean Energy Collaborative, the state’s first clean energy authority. The enabling legislation allows governments to join together to provide a service or function that is most efficiently provided on a regional basis rather than by single governments.
Today, the Garfield Clean Energy partnership has 10 active local government partners. They experience direct benefits in their own operations, and their annual contributions also fund programs that serve households and businesses across Garfield County.