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News Room: Boulder/ Denver Counties

Boulder Launches "energy coach" pilot program for businesses

Sunday, September 30, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Julie Herman
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Results will help shape future commercial energy-efficiency mandates

Boulder is offering free "energy coaches" to interested businesses as part of a pilot program to get more companies to measure and track their energy use.

The pilot program is part of a larger effort by the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the commercial and industrial sectors, which accounted for 83 percent of Boulder's energy use in a 2006 analysis. Depending on how the pilot program goes, Boulder could start requiring businesses to report their energy rating to the city next year.

City officials said they hope a wide variety of commercial and industrial businesses apply so that they can get a complete picture of energy use in those sectors and determine which types of energy data to collect and how to simplify the data-sharing process.

Participating businesses will use the Energy Star Portfolio Manager program to track and rate their energy, which they will share with the city. Portfolio Manager was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

They companies also will receive free assistance from energy coaches to help them evaluate the energy use data and identify opportunities to save money through energy-efficiency improvements.


The pilot program will run through December.

The city already has helped more than 1,300 businesses and building owners through its energy-efficiency programs.

Validating energy efficiency

Elevations Credit Union started using Portfolio Manager five years ago to establish its baseline energy use and track savings as it embarked on a series of energy-efficiency upgrades, including replacing an outdated heating and air-conditioning system, installing automated lighting controls and improving the parking lot lighting.

The credit union was recognized by the city's 10 for Change program in 2009 for reducing its energy use by 11.5 percent and is on track to achieve an EnergyStar rating in 2013, said Sam Cohen, assistant vice president for facilities.

Cohen said Portfolio Manager is easy to use -- users just enter information from their company's utility bills and the square footage of their buildings. The program allows Cohen to compare his building with other similar buildings in the community and see which improvements have paid off.

Pursuing greater energy-efficiency has been a good financial decision for the credit union, he said, but it also keeps the institution in line with its members' values.

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