Top Stories September 13, 2019

The Center Goes Green (Power)

by Jackson Hole Radio News

Center for the Arts recently announced its commitment to 100% Green Power provided through Lower Valley Energy. Center leadership worked with Lower Valley Energy and Energy Conservation Works to better understand their energy use, evaluate their options to transition their operations to renewable electricity, and implement a variety of energy-saving measures. Just as any other member of Lower Valley Energy can do, they opted to join the Green Power program to power the central community facility. 


Community-wide, homes, businesses, and public facilities are increasingly committing to Green Power. This trend has been seen across accounts of all sizes and locations, from small residential to large non-residential accounts, such as the Jackson Hole Airport.  Every member of Lower Valley Energy’s Cooperative utility can ‘opt-in’ to Green Power, increasing the local mix of wind and solar-generated electricity.


“Center for the Arts is a busy multi-use facility housing 19 non-profit organizations. Use of the facility starts early in the morning and continues until late in the evening, 7 days a week,” said Ron Gessler, Facilities Maintenance Director of The Center. 


“With over 2,000 light bulbs in the multi-use aspect of the facility, it made sense to consider the Green Power program and the benefits it could provide. From an energy use standpoint, the cost of lamp replacement and labor savings helped to make the decision easy. The quality of the light is now pleasing and consistent throughout the facility.”


With its commitment to Green Power for its operations, 100% of The Center’s electricity needs will be provided from local, Green Power resources. Much of the Green Power provided through LVE is produced at the Horse Butte Wind Farm outside Idaho Falls and the Pleasant Valley Wind Farm near Evanston, Wyoming. Additional Green Power comes from several local micro-hydroelectric facilities owned and operated by LVE. The Town of Jackson and Teton County both purchase their electricity from these local hydro projects.


ECW’s Director Phil Cameron said, ‘It’s very exciting that Center for the Arts has joined this community-wide effort supporting renewable Green Power. As a hub for the Arts community, we’re so proud to have The Center and its 19 resident organizations now running on 100% Green Power.’ Cameron continued,


The move to Green Power represents yet another in a long line of commitments by The Center to create a sustainable home for the arts. Led by Facilities Maintenance Director, Ron Gessler, Center for the Arts has implemented many energy and cost-saving measures to its operations over the past several years. Gessler and Willi Brooks, Front of House Manager, collaborating with Teton County Solid Waste and Recycling improved The Center’s recycling initiatives by installing sorted recycling bins throughout the building, reducing the number of weekly cardboard recycling pickups and streamlining their sorting system. Further, with the help and funding from Lower Valley Energy, The Center has replaced a significant portion of its lighting with LED bulbs. Tens of thousands of dollars in savings from these simple changes along with a more thoughtful boiler room and facility management allowed The Center to purchase a new HVAC control system. The over one hundred thousand dollar investment paid for itself in just four years, and the control system is now saving The Center energy, time, and money.’


Energy Conservation Works partnered with Lower Valley Energy in September of 2017, launching an effort to increase participation in the Green Power program. Roughly 500 residents and businesses have chosen to switch their power to Green sources in this timeframe. Any member of Lower Valley Energy can do so.