In Jackson Hole, we are addicted to fossil fuels. We burn oil to get around. We burn coal to keep the lights on in the fall and winter. We burn natural gas to heat our homes and businesses. And we burn oil to export our garbage and import our food.
While we power our community in the spring and summer primarily with hydropower, Jackson Hole has the highest per capita energy use rate in America – nearly double the national average. This means other communities are forced to burn fossil fuels instead of being able to use some of the hydropower we consume. It also means that we have significant opportunities for improvement.
Jackson Hole should lead the
transition away from the
dirty energy economy of the past, toward
the clean energy economy of the future
by breaking our addiction to fossil fuels.
To get this done we’ll need to build on current helpful local government initiatives and use our ingenuity and innovation to rethink how we power our community, get around, manage our waste, and source our food. Focusing on how we power our community, this should involve dramatically increasing our supply of locally generated distributed renewable energy, and reducing our demand for energy through efficiency and conservation.
In order to break our addiction to fossil fuels and build the clean energy economy of the future, our community should:
- Implement policies like a feed-in tariff to encourage the generation of local distributed renewable energy.
- Adopt policies and incentives like group net metering to encourage small-scale community-owned renewable energy projects, like solar gardens or a neighborhood wind turbine.
- Expand incentives and financing options for owners of existing buildings to participate in a communitywide energy retrofit program.
- Direct growth out of rural areas into walkable neighborhoods while providing everyone with the freedom to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on foot, bike, or transit.
Energy Case Study
Laurie Coe is a residential homeowner in Jackson Hole who makes energy efficiency look easy.
Laurie is a lifelong resident of Jackson, and after graduating from Jackson Hole High School in the early 1980s, her parents encouraged her to buy a house, instead of renting.
Subsequently, she applied for and received a low interest home loan from the Farmers Home Administration that she used to purchase a two-bedroom modular home in West Jackson. She was just 19-years old. Besides professional athletes and entertainers, how many 19-year olds have the foresight and wherewithal to make the commitment to invest in a home at such a very young age?
We all know how the arctic-like climate in Jackson creates unique wear and tear on our homes. Over the course of three decades, appliances, pipes, insulation, and windows will inevitably wear out and more efficient options will arise. And this was the case with Laurie’s home – to the extent she admits to using bubble wrap to keep out Old Man Winter.
In 2013, tired of living in a cold, drafty house where she was continually throwing hard earned money out of the proverbial window, Laurie decided to do something about it. So she reached out to the fine folks at Lower Valley Energy (LVE) for a little assistance. Upon receiving her call, LVE connected her with Energy Conservation Works (ECW) to learn more about financing efficiency improvements and scheduled a home energy assessment to identify them. The assessor combed through her house to identify potential energy-saving measures, and provided a detailed report and explanation of ways she could retrofit her home and save a few dollars in the process.
As a result of the technical and financial support from LVE and ECW, Laurie decided to replace her front door and the south facing windows to her home. As a result, she is expected to save approximately 3,630 kilowatt hours of energy use, which equates to over $200 in savings annually. Through an innovative residential loan program being managed by Energy Conservation Works, Laurie secured a $7500, zero-percent interest loan that she will pay back as part of her monthly utility bill over the next five years.
And finally, Laurie wants to share the message when one LVE customer saves on their energy bill, we all do as this helps reduce our burning of fossil fuels. She is proud of this great program made possible through the partnership of Lower Valley Energy and Energy Conservation Works.
Laurie will continue to pay back her zero-interest loan one month at a time, save on her energy bills, and enjoy a cozier and more comfortable home. Laurie plans to replace her existing thermostats and insulation during the next phase of energy efficiency improvements through the residential loan program.
What You Can Do
Helpful tips you can use to save money and make your home more energy efficient include:
- Install energy efficient light bulbs and appliances *
- Upgrade insulation and weather stripping *
- Upgrade to programmable electronic thermostats *
- Install the “Smarthub” smartphone app to monitor and measure energy use
- Lower the temperature on your hot water tank, especially when you plan to be out of town
- Conduct a full-scale energy assessment with Lower Valley Energy *
- Contact Energy Conservation Works to determine if you qualify for a low interest loan
*These actions are subject to Lower Valley Energy financial rebates.
To learn how you can save on your energy bills, and enjoy a cozier and more comfortable home this winter visit http://www.choosetoreduce.org