Commitment Starts at the Top
On April 21, Vice President Joe Biden announced total grants of up to $452 million dollars for the U.S. Department of Energy's Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative. Under this initiative, governments, private companies, non-profits and other groups will work together to research and implement energy efficiency improvements in entire communities.
One of the larger awards went to Boulder County, Colorado, which will receive $25 million in funding. Boulder County, in partnership with the Governor’s Energy Office, Xcel Energy City and County of Denver, Garfield County and other participants, will use the funds to connect home owners with affordable energy efficiency upgrades.
Though all of the details have not been determined, this group is considering implementation of the following:
- creating an energy “concierge service” to distribute information to homeowners and businesses
- providing targeted rebates
- expanding the popular City of Boulder "Two Techs and a Truck" program to provide onsite assistance with business and residential efficiency retrofits
- expanding the successful Boulder County ClimateSmart Loan Program, and complement these efforts with innovative financing strategies.
Successful Programs in Boulder - A Unique Mix of Innovations
The ClimateSmart Loan Program "provides a voluntary mechanism for commercial and residential property owners to obtain financing for renewable energy and/or energy efficiency improvements to properties in Boulder County, including properties in all cities and towns. Each property owner who receives financing through the program will be responsible for repaying the loan via a special assessment on the improved property" (Source: www.bouldercounty.org). The most unique part of this program is the fact that these loans are tied to the property itself, not the person taking out the loan. This allows for features such as solar panels to be paid for over time as part of the home's purchase and promotes the idea that such features are a part of a home or land's value, regardless of who owns it.
This new website is a great interactive tool for anyone who’s interested in purchasing energy efficient appliances or materials and for those interested in submitting a grant proposal. For a full list of these programs, please click here.
In addition, Recharge Colorado is a great place to learn more about state programs involving renewable energy generation and research. To read more, please visit the Governor’s Energy Office’s Renewable Energy Programs page.
(Image Credit: www.thisefficienthouse.com)