HG: SustainAbility Column September 13, 2008

Grand Valley Power wanted to get behind energy efficiency in a big way, so in mid-April they created a new position and hired Derek Elder as energy services administrator.

Derek will promote energy efficiency and conservation for GVP members after spending 12 years as a lineman, primarily for electric co-ops. The Colorado native said he was “intrigued” by moving into this new area of the power business.

He has almost completed an involved process to become certified to do energy audits with Energy Star ratings through the Kansas Building and Science Institute.

Since GVP is the oldest rural electric cooperative in Colorado, it is important to “remember who we are while moving forward and making a difference,” Derek explained. Originally formed in rural areas, today’s electric co-ops are charged with supplying cost-based reliable electricity to their member/owners in a variety of settings.

Derek likes to give tips on energy efficiency that are “small things with a quick impact.” Some of his favorites include compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), caulking, sealing ductwork and programmable thermostats for both heating and cooling (see box).

Derek has hit the ground running with programs helpful to co-op members. In conjunction with the Governor’s Energy Office, GVP has selected nine customers to participate in a pilot solar rebate program. Applicants had energy audits completed on their homes and those selected for the pilot had already done some work to make their homes efficient.

Participants will receive up to $6,000 each to offset the cost of installing solar grid-tied systems to their homes.

Four of the systems have been completed and the rebates awarded, with the remaining five systems still in the installation phase.

Another pilot program offers incentives for the purchase of new evaporative coolers. The program encourages people to replace old, inefficient coolers with newer models rather than switching to air conditioner units, which use much more electricity.

Incentives are $200 or $500 depending on the type of cooler and are only available for addresses within the GVP service area.

For additional information, contact Derek at 242-0040, ext. 388.

By the end of September, revisions will be complete on the GVP’s Web site, http://www.gvp.org, that highlight the activities of Derek’s energy services program.

Also of note, GVP and the Delta-Montrose Electric Association co-sponsor a weekly radio show about building energy efficient homes.

Doug Rye, a nationally renowned expert, hosts the hour-long show on KNZZ, 1100 AM, at 8 a.m. Saturdays.

Rye will also be in Grand Junction for a seminar on March 7.

Here’s a heads up for next month. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association is teaming up with the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council and other sponsors for the 2008 Alternative Energy Expo in Delta on Oct. 17 –18.

Call Barbara at 527-5307, ext. 202, for more information.

My husband and I attended the expo last fall and there was a wealth of information available.

Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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