City shares update on energy-efficiency plan

Year-old effort to reduce consumption pushes forward

Posted 3/10/18

It might be a change as small as upgrading to LED lighting, lowering building temperatures or replacing HVAC equipment. Or it could be an effort as large as a more efficient police headquarters or a …

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City shares update on energy-efficiency plan

Year-old effort to reduce consumption pushes forward

Posted

It might be a change as small as upgrading to LED lighting, lowering building temperatures or replacing HVAC equipment. Or it could be an effort as large as a more efficient police headquarters or a plan to repurpose byproduct gas from the wastewater treatment plant.

In several ways, the City of Englewood is attacking its goal of reducing energy use by 1 percentage point per year through the year 2030. The Energy Action Plan seeks to lower use annually as compared to the city's 2015 levels, a move equivalent to taking 650 passenger cars off its roads each year. That will amount to about a 12 percent reduction by 2030, according to the city. The plan kicked off in 2017.

It will take businesses, residents, medical facilities and the city itself to make changes to make that a reality. On Feb. 22, the Energy Action Plan Summit drew about 20 residents and shared stories from the commercial, residential and municipal realms on the plan's progress.

“I believe this is the first comprehensive energy reduction plan of its kind that the city has adopted,” said Mark Woulf, Englewood's assistant city manager, in July.

The plan sets an annual goal of 1.5 percent reduction for the commercial sector, 3.5 percent for municipal and 0.5 percent for residential. Combined, those amount to a 1 percent annual reduction for the city as a whole because each sector accounts of a different amount of the total.

So far, the city has completed lighting and other upgrade projects at city facilities and designed the new Englewood Police Department building, which is under construction, to be more energy-efficient. The city has even consolidated printing usage, according to Susan Blythe, a partner to the city from Brendle Group, an engineering and planning firm.

The approval of the funding for the biogas-repurposing plan for the Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant — which would sell byproduct gas from the treatment process, rather than burning excess gas as the plant currently does — was another step forward, although Englewood City Council has yet to green-light the construction and set up a brokerage agreement to participate in the federal energy-market program that it would use to enable itself to make profit under that program. If the city chooses a cash-financing option over a power purchase agreement, those steps may be taken later this year.

For businesses and residents, though, several small steps can add up to substantial energy reduction. Taking advantage of available equipment rebates through Xcel Energy can help, and for businesses in particular, paying more attention to utility bills is a simple step, Blythe said.

The city has put out information about energy reduction since June, and the Englewood Chamber of Commerce heard information on the plan in September. A business event in March by the city will discuss the plan as well.

The city's biggest challenge is reaching out to doctors and property managers in the medical office buildings adjacent to Swedish Medical and Craig Hospital, said Alison Carney, spokeswoman for the city.

But a developer working on a medical-office building across from the Swedish Medical Center is participating in an energy-design assistance program through Xcel Energy, a partner in the plan, Carney said. The program aims to save spending associated with HVAC equipment and lower energy consumption and operating costs in the building.

The Citizens Alliance for a Sustainable Englewood, or CASE — an environmentally conscious group — is engaged on the residential strategy, Blythe said. Several energy workshops have given information to residents on renewable energy and efficiency, according to the Feb. 22 summit presentation.

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