Grant slated for energy-efficient buildings

The city of Grand Junction and a series of Mesa County public entities will receive $1 million in grant funds to build energy-efficient buildings as part of Gov. Bill Ritter’s New Energy Community Initiative program.

The grant, announced Tuesday, will help local governments develop energy-efficient building projects across the county, including “highly visible renewable energy demonstration projects,” according to the Governor’s Energy Office.

The Mesa County grant is one of 14 awards, totaling $10 million, the state will distribute this year.

Garfield County communities will receive $1.6 million as part of the grant program.

Those funds, the governor’s office announced, will be developed to increase the energy efficiency of government buildings as well as other smaller projects, including installing LED street lights throughout the county and helping encourage homeowners to install solar panels and solar water heaters.

Kathy Portner, neighborhood service director for the city of Grand Junction, said the grant funds will help Mesa County communities incorporate “performance contracting” into their building projects.

“Performance contracting is looking at ways of making facilities more energy-efficient,” Portner said.
State Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, praised the grant as a great economic opportunity for the Grand Valley.

“Here in Grand Junction, thanks to this grant, we are going to save taxpayers’ money, conserve energy, reduce our dependence on foreign fuel and, most importantly, create jobs,” Buescher said.

“These 14 projects will enhance livability, strengthen the economy and reward regional collaboration throughout Colorado,” Ritter said in a statement.

The grant funds will be available to the county, Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, and five other municipalities and special districts.


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