Building Efficiency, Renewables and Financing
During the past several years, Summit County has been working to improve the energy efficiency of County buildings, including a number of upgrades that have achieved significant energy and cost savings. Many of these projects were funded through a ballot measure approved by Summit County voters in 2008.
Summit County is working with Building Technology Systems (BTS), the County’s contractor for building controls, to utilize Energy Print, an online building energy tracking system that monitors monthly utility data for more than a dozen County facilities. By tracking energy use, we're able to investigate issues with the County’s existing buildings and figure out the best solutions to save staff time and money. Our monthly BTS reports enable us to make better decisions about how to save energy and then prove the return-on-investment for every change we make across all our buildings.
Some of the key building improvements made over the past few years include:
- Replacing the lighting in County buildings with high-efficiency, longer-lasting LED lighting to dramatically reduce annual energy use and the maintenance associated with bulb replacements
- Upgrading County buildings with new building control systems to better monitor and control all heating and air-conditioning systems
- Installing new high-efficiency boilers at the County Commons and Justice Center
- Installing occupancy sensors throughout the Fleet Maintenance Building
- Replacing the heating system at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) with radiant propane heat and programming the building controls to power down and avoid heat loss when the doors are open, reducing the utility costs for the MRF by more than 50 percent.
By identifying energy-savings opportunities and making building performance improvements across the County’s facilities, energy cost per square foot decreased approximately 10%, carbon emissions per square foot decreased 9%, and energy savings exceeded $150,000 annually since 2017.
In 2019, the Summit County Board of Commissioners opted into the Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Program, making this financing program available to all commercial, industrial, agricultural and multifamily properties (with 5 units or more) in Summit County.
C-PACE financing allows property owners to finance up to 100 percent of the cost of energy efficiency and water-conserving building improvements and renewable energy installations. Financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive rates, and the financing repayment is facilitated through the Summit County property tax assessment process.
A voluntary assessment is placed on the building owner’s property tax bill. The assessment is repaid over a financing term of up to 25 years. In many cases, the property owner’s annual energy cost savings will exceed the annual assessment payment, allowing building owners to invest in capital intensive upgrades for $0 down, while the business remains cash-flow positive. The C-PACE assessment runs with the property, so it transfers to the next owner when the property is sold.
Any project that reduces a building’s utility bill is eligible for financing through C-PACE for up to 100 percent of the project cost. Some examples of eligible improvements include automated building controls, high-efficiency lighting, insulation, window replacements, HVAC system upgrades, solar PV installations and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
For more information about the C-PACE program, visit www.copace.com. For all other inquiries, call the Summit County Treasurer's Office at (970) 453-3440 or send an email to Treasurer@SummitCountyCO.gov.