The Colorado Rural Electric Association is working on a new program to help electric cooperative members use energy more efficiently throughout their homes, schools and businesses.
The Colorado EnergyWise Project, a joint effort between CREA and its member co-ops, is in the initial planning stage, but the association intends to include several components that will be implemented later this year and next year, said Kent Singer, CREA’s executive director.
As part of the project, the statewide plans to work with local banks and credit unions to create a program that will loan money to co-op members who are making their homes more energy efficient.
The program also will assist in retrofitting state-owned buildings in co-op service areas with one or more energy-saving devices or upgrades. Those might include the installation of efficient lighting such as the T5 Retrofit Kit, weatherization of buildings or upgraded heating and cooling.
The Colorado Energy Office called the program “a good step in the right direction to improve energy efficiency in rural Colorado.”
“We feel that providing information on the benefits of energy efficiency and the tools to help residents implement these efficiency measures will go a long way,” said Tracee Bentley, the office’s deputy director.
The project also reaches out to young people. The statewide is working with CoBank, one of the lenders in the co-op program, to develop a special award for students competing in the state science and engineering fair in the area of energy efficiency, Singer said.
The project also will feature a new EnergyWise page on the statewide association’s website that will link to other energy efficiency sites and provide information on members’ efforts to conserve and wisely use energy.
“We’re trying to create a place where co-op consumers can look for energy efficiency information,” Singer said. “It will be a central location where anyone can look to find out what’s going on across all 22 co-ops in the state.”
Mona Neeley, CREA’s director of publications, said the association decided to undertake the project after receiving a request from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office to collaborate on a program to improve energy conservation efforts in the state.
“We looked at the program and decided this is a good thing for co-ops to do,” Neeley said, adding that CREA is still in talks with Hickenlooper’s office. “We want to see if we can really make a difference with some of these programs.”