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Sunday December 8th 2019

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That's what she said

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New Resolutions


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By now, most of us have forgotten our New Year’s Resolutions and are consumed by the ongoing fray of our daily lives.  I write today to urge people to take on a NEW RESOLUTION that will actually make a difference- take action now to significantly reduce your carbon footprint this year.

Here’s how.  Boulder County is about to issue a new round of ClimateSmart Loans, which are available county-wide in unincorporated areas AND in our municipalities.  This time, for the first time, these innovative loan opportunities will be focused on commercial properties, apartment buildings, low income housing, and small manufacturing facilities.

Why is this important?  57% of Boulder’s GHG emissions come form commercial/industrial buildings and another 17% comes from residential buildings, half of which are rentals.  The biggest GHG reductions can come from this sector, but we need strong community engagement to propel these.

So you say, “I don’t own a business or an apartment building, what can I do?”  Talk to your landlord, talk to the owner of your apartment building, talk to your boss, talk to owners and managers of stores you visit, talk with owners of office buildings where you work, talk to industrial service owners you do business with.  Talk to everyone.  Ask them if they are part of the solution.

Why are ClimateSmart loans a great deal?

  1. It’s easy to qualify and there are minimal loan initiation fees
  2. They can be used for a broad range of efficiency improvements (high-efficency furnaces, insulation, weatherization, windows, etc.), renewables (solar thermal and photovoltaics, wind, geothermal, etc.), and much more (http://www.bouldercounty.org/bocc/cslp/comeml.pdf).
  3. ClimateSmart loans are attached to property taxes, paid on a 15 year term to keep payments low, and they stay with the property if you sell it.

What about the split incentive?  This means that the renter or leasee pays the utilities and the owners therefore think they would not benefit from energy savings.  Here’s how to deal with that- Tell your owner/landlord you will increase your rent by the average amount of your monthly/annual utility charges.  Then the owner/landlord will begin paying the utilities and will reap the benefits of reduced costs due to efficiencies and renewables funded by the ClimateSmart Loan Program.  You will benefit too, because your utility costs will not increase over time due to inevitable rate increases.  Win-win-win.  The third and biggest winner is our planet.  Or, there are local companies that will gladly do performance contracting and pay themselves with the energy saving.

To get engaged, attend one of the Commercial ClimateSmart seminars on Wednesday, March 3 or 10, from 6:00-7:00pm at 3550 Frontier Ave, Unit C-2 in Boulder.  Applications are due by March 29.  Can’t make the seminars? Get informed on the ClimateSmart website (www.beclimatesmart.org ).

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama said, “I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.  But here’s the thing. Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future, because the nation that leads the clean-energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy, and America must be that nation.” Remember the bumper stickers, THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY?  DO IT.  START A BUZZ.

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