APril 2018 Newsletter
Lotus continues to build solutions that address local and national sustainability challenges. This spring we are excited to support communities through the U.S. DOE Solar in Your Community Challenge, expand our efficiency program in the Gunnison Valley, launch new GHG emissions inventories, and grow our team!
Supporting local communities to build their solar capacity
Lotus is a consulting partner to the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar in Your Community Challenge, a call to action for innovative leaders across the country to team up and create projects and programs that will build local capacity to support community solar, with a focus on serving low and moderate income (LMI) households.
We love supporting projects that are good for the environment and the community living in it, so this partnership is a perfect fit for the Lotus team! Lotus is currently assisting teams in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Michigan by helping to guide program development and tell the story of these inspiring projects.
Each of the teams we are supporting has a unique approach to the development of community solar projects, tailored for the communities they are serving. In New Hampshire, Lotus is supporting the development of program guidelines that will encourage and support LMI families to participate in community solar projects. In Michigan, we will help identify and implement strategies for integrating energy efficiency programs into solar project portfolios.
We are honored to support such creative leaders that are making a difference in their local communities. To learn more about these projects, please contact us and we would be happy to share more information.
CARE Program now available to Gunnison County residents
The Colorado Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program was officially launched in March, making energy efficiency assessments and retrofits accessible for low to moderate income families in the Gunnison Valley. CARE, which is funded through generous grants from Energy Outreach Colorado and the local utilities, provides free energy assessments and qualified retrofits through the Gunnison Valley Home Energy Advancement Team (GV-HEAT), which Lotus administers alongside the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority. Through GV-HEAT, Valley residents can be connected to services that will allow them to better understand their home energy use, learn more efficient behavior, and receive rebates and grants towards qualifying efficiency upgrades.
Lotus Featured in Sierra Club's video series
As part of their recent series on women-owned businesses in the sustainability field, the Colorado Sierra Club recently invited Hillary Dobos and Emily Artale of Lotus to share the story of our company and the impact that one individual can make. Click here to be directed to the full video!
More Mountain Communities are launching Greenhouse Gas Inventories
Lotus was recently hired by the City of Aspen and Summit County to complete their 2017 greenhouse gas inventories. We are excited to support these communities in their continual efforts to be sustainability leaders! Lotus will be completing the inventories to the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories (GPC) standard, which sets rigorous guidelines for the documentation and sharing of emissions data in order to ensure that communities can have comparable inventories year-to-year and across geographic regions for reference.
The Lotus Team is Growing!
Lotus recently hired Julia Ferguson to find sustainability solutions for Lotus's diverse clients. Julia has worked with Lotus since August of last year on a contractual basis, and is excited to join the team full-time. 'Working on a team that is so dedicated to finding the most innovative, effective, and meaningful sustainability solutions is inspiring,' says Ferguson, 'I can't wait to keep serving our communities in Colorado and beyond!' Julia joins the team as a Senior Associate for Lotus; she has previously worked as Sustainability Coordinator for Adams County Government and Program Manager for the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
Lotus recently moved offices to Steno in Denver. If you'd like to come visit us in person, please direct your GPS to 1627 Vine Street, Denver, CO 80206! We'd love to meet with you in our new space.
February 2018 Newsletter
Lotus Engineering and Sustainability has begun 2018 with many exciting projects and announcements. From modeling greenhouse gas reduction strategies, to developing a new report on low-income community solar models, to launching an energy assistance program on the Western Slope of the Rockies, our team is busy finding sustainability solutions for our clients. Please read below to learn more about our current projects and updates, and let us know how we can help your organization achieve your sustainability goals.
Colorado Energy Office released a report on the Low-Income Community Solar Demonstration Project
Lotus was hired by the Colorado Energy Office to assist in the development and evaluation of the innovative low-income community solar demonstration project. The demonstration project was conducted in partnership with eight utilities across the state and provides insight on how community solar programs can have a positive impact on vulnerable community members while supporting a utility's renewable energy and community outreach goals.
The full report, which includes detailed case studies of the projects developed by each utility, can be found here.
If your organization has an interest in developing community solar projects that have wide-reaching benefits, please reach out. We are passionate about ensuring access to clean energy to all community members, and would love to support your work.
Lotus Blog: 100% Renewable Commitments (Part 2)
In our last blog post, we discussed how a growing number of communities and businesses are committing to 100% renewable energy in the near future. In Part 2, we suggest some strategies and actions that may lead to access towards a 100% renewable energy goal. Contact us to learn about the first steps your community or business can take towards sustainability and climate action.
For those communities that have already pledged to invest in 100% renewable energy or electricity: CONGRATULATIONS and WELL DONE! We look forward to watching your progress and supporting your work!
Denver's 80x50 Climate Goal Stakeholder and Community Input Initiative Recognized at the Compact of Colorado Communities Symposium on January 31
The City and County of Denver was awarded for their leadership with the 80x50 Stakeholder and Community Input Initiative. Lotus has the distinct pleasure of leading this project for the City and County of Denver, and is currently working with Denver to refine the 80x50 targets and strategies based on stakeholder feedback. Congratulations to the City and County of Denver for leading this effort and driving sustainability forward in the Denver metro region.
Gunnison Valley Home Energy Advancement Team (GV-HEAT) Officially Launches
Lotus and the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority (GVRHA) launched the Gunnison Valley Home Energy Advancement Team (GV-HEAT) this month! Through GV-HEAT, we are connecting households in the Gunnison Valley to a suite of home energy efficiency programs that will help make homes in the Valley more safe, comfortable, and efficient. Lotus serves as the program developer and administrator for GV-HEAT, and is applying on behalf of the Housing Authority to administer the Colorado Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program as part of GV-HEAT. Contact us to learn more about this program, and how to establish a similar one in your community!
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories and Climate Action Planning
As many of us know, you can't manage what you don't measure. Throughout 2017 and into the beginning of 2018, Lotus has assisted multiple local communities, including Boulder County and the City of Longmont, in completing an up-to-date and GPC compliant community greenhouse gas inventory. These detailed inventories provide the community with the resources and information needed to make data-driven decisions about how to reduce emissions and aggressively achieve climate action goals. Lotus is now excited to be embarking on climate action strategies with these communities and others, and is currently modeling strategies that will achieve emissions reductions to support the development of relevant, achievable, and aggressive climate action plans.
To learn more about Lotus's greenhouse gas inventory and climate action planning work, please visit our website.
Colorado Sierra Club highlights Women-Owned Businesses that are making a difference in the sustainability field
Emily Artale, Co-owner and Principal Engineer at Lotus, will be featured in the upcoming video from the Sierra Club. Keep an eye out for this short video in the next newsletter!
December 2017 newsletter
Happy Holidays from Lotus
With the end of 2017 quickly approaching, the team at Lotus is busy wrapping up several projects and looking forward to many more opportunities to support your climate action goals in 2018. Read on to learn about our upcoming report with the Colorado Energy Office on how community solar can impact low income energy burden, which communities are pursuing climate action planning, and how an energy efficiency and home weatherization program for all residents of a mountain community can be effectively implemented. As always, please contact us with any questions or to learn more!
Read our newest Lotus Blog!
And while you are at it, check out our recently re-designed website!
Lotus Blog: 100% Renewable Commitments Are Becoming a Common Climate Action Strategy
A growing number of communities and businesses are committing to move towards 100% renewable energy in the near future. What does this mean, and what are the most effective strategies for going 100% renewable energy? Contact us to learn about the first steps your community or business can take towards sustainability and climate action.
Forthcoming Report on the Colorado Energy Office's Low Income Community Solar Demonstration Project
Lotus worked with the Colorado Energy Office and the National Renewable Energy Lab to create eight detailed project case studies and the final report for the Colorado Energy Office's innovative Low-Income Community Solar Demonstration Project.
The final report is currently being completed and we anticipate that it will be available on the Colorado Energy Office website by the beginning of 2018.
In advance of the final report, the results of this demonstration project program have been shared by members of the Lotus team with audiences both regionally and nationally at the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA event) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) annual meeting in September. To view Emily Artale's presentation on this project to CESA, please go here.
Greenhouse Gas Inventories
In 2017, Lotus worked with several clients to track greenhouse gas emissions, and we have recently completed inventories for the Cities of Boulder and Park City, Utah. Our customized services are designed to meet each client's needs; this means that for each community with whom we work we have identified and developed an appropriate monitoring tool, created a detailed inventory management plan, and provided reports that compare inventories across time to track each community's individual progress. We even worked the City of Lafayette, CO to re-create their existing GHG inventory to be GPC compliant, ensuring that Lafayette they can continue to track their emissions and compare them to other communities globally.
We would be pleased to assist your community in identifying and tracking your GHG emissions, which is an important first step towards climate action. For more information on these services click here.
An Energy Efficiency Program for All Residents of the Gunnison Valley
Lotus was hired in 2017 by the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority to develop and administer a suite of home energy efficiency programs for all residents of the Gunnison Valley, with an emphasis on income-qualified homes. The Gunnison Valley Home Energy Advancement Team (GV-HEAT) will officially launch in the coming months--look for more information on this program soon!
Denver 80x50 Plan Response
Lotus facilitated the City and County of Denver's stakeholder process for the development of their 80x50 Plan--a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. As part of this effort, Denver used a survey to solicit responses from residents and folks working in the City and County to better understand the support for this work and how to prioritize these efforts.
The survey proved to be a great tool for public input, with over 1,500 individual responses collected. While the survey results are still being analyzed, you can read the full 80x50 Climate Goal: Stakeholder Report here.
Do you have an upcoming sustainability program or project that requires the input of a wide audience of stakeholders? Contact us to discuss how we may be able to assist in making this process efficient and informative for all parties.
Opportunities to Get Involved
The holiday season brings with it many opportunities to get together, learn from each other, and make an impact on the sustainability work that is important to us all. Lotus will be attending the following events this season, and we would love to see you there:
- The Sustainable Denver Summit, hosted by the City and County of Denver, will be held on December 5th at the Colorado Convention Center. This fantastic event is a great opportunity to learn more about and become involved in the great sustainability work happening across our region. Emily Artale and Julia Ferguson will be in attendance--please connect with them while you are there!
- The Resilient Denver event on December 11th, hosted by Denver Environmental Health, will prove to be a great forum for discussing the elements of building healthy communities that remain strong and resilient in the face of climate change. Join Julia Ferguson at this exciting event, free to the public.
- The Colorado Communities Symposium, hosted by the State of Colorado, the Compact of Colorado Communities, and the Association of Climate Change Officers, is a three-day symposium for Colorado leaders interested in taking action on climate change. Lotus is excited to attend this event, and we look forward to meeting you there!
October 2017 Newsletter
The team at Lotus has been busy over the last few months helping our clients complete comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories and develop sustainability strategies to achieve their aggressive climate action goals. Read below to learn more about these projects, our new teammate, take a survey (if you work or live in Denver), or see if you could benefit from a recycling grant. As always. please contact us with any questions or to learn more!
Denver 80x50 Climate Goal: Stakeholder Report and Public Outreach Survey
Lotus lead the City and County of Denver's 80x50 facilitation and strategy development process for their 80x50 Climate Goal Stakeholder Report. We worked with Denver and a group of expert stakeholders to identify ambitious, yet feasible, GHG emission reduction strategies to meet Denver's 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 plan. We also modeled these strategies for their relative impact on GHG emissions and on secondary criteria such as cost, ease of implementation, impacts on social equity and environmental justice, public health, and air quality. You can see the report by clicking here.
Alongside the report, Denver launched a public outreach effort to solicit input on potential targets and strategies to achieve Denver’s Climate Action Plan goal. Those who live and/or work in Denver are encouraged to take a survey and provide comments on the report by October 31st, 2017. Based on the 80x50 Climate Goal: Stakeholder Report and the public input, Denver will be releasing its strategies for reaching the goal. More information on the survey can be found at
Greenhouse Gas Accounting
Lotus is working with many cities and counties on their GPC compliant greenhouse gas accounting. Alongside these inventories, we have created accompanying data management tools and inventory management plans. The data management tool is designed to easily input inventory values into ICLEI's ClearPath. We have also updated past greenhouse inventories to be GPC compliant. For more information on these services click here.
Blog: Overview of Compact of Mayors
Do you have questions about the Compact of Mayors and how joining the Compact will impact and benefit your community? Check out our latest blog post, 'Overview of the Compact of Mayors,' and contact us to learn more.
Boulder Housing Partners: Behavioral Change Program Success
Lotus lead an Energy Empowerment Project where we provided Boulder Housing Partners with real-time, unit-level information about electricity use; provided residents with targeted feedback about their electricity consumption; and employed a variety of scientific approaches for motivating, engaging, and empowering residents to reduce electricity consumption. The project was specifically designed to be replicable for similar communities in BHP’s portfolio.
The results of the engagement program illustrate the impact that programs of this type can have on residents' energy usage. During our engagement program, Boulder Housing Partners realized the following results for the units with which we worked:
- 9.3% reduction in electricity usage
- 4.5% reduction in energy costs on their utility bills
You can see the report by clicking here.
There are lots of opportunities to get involved in local and regional sustainability efforts, and we strive to help you grow your impact. Consider learning more and participating in the following this month:
- The City and County of Denver is seeking input on the 80x50 Climate Goal. If you live or work in Denver, please provide your valuable insight by going to http://www.denvergov.org/80x50 and clicking on 'Take Survey.'
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment is now accepting applications for the Recycling Resources and Economic Opportunity Program Mini-Grants for Equipment, Supplies, and Outreach Materials. Funds up to $25,000 can be requested to support your programs and efforts. Learn more at https://colorago.gov/recycling-grants. Application deadline is October 31.
In September, Lotus staff joined teams from the Colorado Energy Office and the National Renewable Energy Lab to present findings from a forthcoming report on low-income community solar projects and their impact on utility co-ops and subscribers.
Attendees to the annual meeting of the National Association of State Energy Officials in New Orleans benefited from learning about the CEO's innovative demonstration project and how these programs may be expanded and implemented outside of Colorado.
Introducing Julia Ferguson, PMP, MURP
We are thrilled to announce the addition of Julia Ferguson to our team. Julia started in June and has already added great value to our clients through her sustainability program implementation, urban planning, policy development, and writing skills! For more information on Julia’s background click here or you can reach her directly at Julia@lotussustainability.com. She would love to chat!
May 2017 Newsletter
I joined a community solar program, now what?
So you’ve signed a contract to receive power from a community solar program. Congratulations! This decision has great benefits for the environment and your wallet. Now it's time to take a closer look at your monthly electric bill to make sure that you’re maximizing your benefits.
Lotus began a few exciting new projects this month. Greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting seems to be the theme of the season for us with new projects with Boulder County and City of Boulder.
Boulder County Emissions Reduction
Lotus is working with Boulder County to complete their 2016 GHG inventory and analyze the GHG reduction potential of a number of mitigation strategies to help set a realistic, impactful GHG reduction target for 2035 and 2050.
City of Boulder GHG
Lotus was selected to update the City of Boulder's GHG inventory. Boulder has emissions reduction goals set for 2030 and 2050. We look forward to helping them continue to succeed.
Kudos to the HRCA!
Congratulations to the Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA) for moving forward with their new community solar garden! Read more in the Highlands Ranch Herald.
As part of our continuing sustainability blog series, we are happy to announce our new blog titled An Overview of Energy Outreach Colorado: A Conversation with Andy Caler. Environmental Justice issues are a top priority for many of our clients; therefore we were thrilled to ask Andy Caler a few questions about his work. We hope that you find our blog valuable and will share it with your friends and colleagues.
Recently we have been busy with some great projects:
- We are helping the City and County of Denver facilitate and develop their 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 climate plan.
- In partnership with ICLEI, we have conducted GPC-compliant greenhouse gas inventories for the Cities of Lakewood and Boulder as part of the Compact of Mayor's requirements.
- We continue to evaluate community solar garden projects including a review for Highlands Ranch Community Association and evaluating multiple low-income community solar demonstration projects with GRID Alternatives and NREL for the Colorado Energy Office.
- We also continue to work with Boulder Housing Partners on an energy empowerment project that will reduce residents electricity use through behavioral change.
As part of our continuing sustainability blog series, we are happy to announce our new blog titled Finding Regional Consistency in GHG Accounting: The Compact of Mayors Agreement and the GPC. We hope that you find our blog valuable and will share it with your friends and colleagues.
We have recently been involved in some great projects:
- Helping Boulder Housing Partners reach their goal of becoming the nation's first net-zero energy housing authority.
- Developing and managing an RFP process for the upcoming Colorado Energy Futures Study for the Alliance Center.
- Preparing Energy Performance Contracting outreach case studies for the Colorado Energy Office and Pollution Prevention outreach case studies for the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.
- In partnership with ICLEI, we are creating a 2015 GPC-compliant greenhouse gas inventory with accompanying data management tool and inventory management plan for the City of Lakewood.
As many of you may be aware Emily’s 7-year tenure as a Colorado Energy Office EPC consultant will be coming to an end August 31st. We will now have more time to grow our other services and continue to find innovative and world-changing projects!
May 3, 2016
Greetings friends and colleagues,
Last week, Lotus was fortunate to speak with Paul Scharfenberger, the Director of Finance and Operations at the Colorado Energy Office, about the new financing tool being rolled out called Colorado’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (“Colorado C-PACE”). Since many of our clients are interested in C-PACE, we were thrilled to ask him a few questions in our latest blog: An Overview of Colorado C-PACE: A Conversation with Paul Scharfenberger.
We have recently been involved in some great projects:
- We have completed numerous GHG inventories for public and private sector clients using The Climate Registry and Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emission (GPC) protocols.
- We helped the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) better understand how the Community Solar Gardens Act low-income carve out is being achieved. The report is now available on the CEO website.
- We continue to support the CEO's and the Missouri Department of Economic Development's Energy Performance Contracting programs.
- We are working with Boulder Housing Partners to roll out an energy empowerment project that will reduce energy use through behavioral change.
- We continue to partner with CLEER to investigate community solar projects and with CORE to support the development of GHG inventories on numerous projects throughout the Western slope.
Hillary and Emily
December 7, 2015
New business certification and a new journal article! Plus, we are helping Cities achieve international recognition for their sustainability efforts.
Greetings friends and colleagues,
We hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of the holiday season. Here is some recent news from Lotus Engineering and Sustainability:
- Lotus is now a DBE, SBE, M/WBE, and EBE certified company.
- Lotus's work helped the City of Lakewood be selected for the Cities100 publication! The Cities100 publication highlights 100 solutions that cities across the world are doing to take action on climate change on a global scale. Lotus was asked by the City of Lakewood to create emission calculators to help design appropriate, measurable, and achievable climate change strategies. This work is highlighted as one of the top strategies! You can read the report by clicking here (see page 80).
- Look for our article in the next edition of the award-winning Natural Gas and Electricity Journal titled Community Solar Presents Rewards and Risks. Please contact us directly if you would like a copy of the article.
As part of our continuing sustainability blog series, we are happy to announce our new blog titled Low-Income Solar Success Stories. We hope that you find our blog valuable and will share it with your friends and colleagues.
NOVEMBER 20, 2015
Lotus's work helps City of Lakewood be selected for the Cities100 publication.
The Cities100 publication highlights 100 solutions that cities across the world are doing to take action on climate change on a global scale. Lotus was asked by the City of Lakewood to create emission calculators to help design appropriate, measurable, and achievable climate change strategies. This work is highlighted as one of the top strategies! You can read the report by clicking here (see page 80).
NOVEMBER 5, 2015
Lotus Engineering and Sustainability is now a DBE, SBE, M/WBE, and EBE certified company.
We are pleased to announced that Lotus has been approved for certification in four programs (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Small Business Enterprise, Minority/Women Business Enterprise, and Emerging Business Enterprise) through the City and County of Denver.
SEPTEMBER 16, 2015
New projects, a new move, and a new business certification!
Greetings friends and colleagues,
We hope everyone has had a great summer and is enjoying the beginnings of fall. Here is some recent Lotus Engineering and Sustainability news:
- We are happy to announce that we have signed a contract with the Colorado Energy Office to complete an evaluation that will provide greater insight into how well Colorado community solar garden subscribers are complying with the low-income carve-out rule outlined in House Bill 10-1432 and also help identify barriers, opportunities, and best practices for increasing low-income access to shared solar.
- Emily has officially moved to Crested Butte. Besides living in one of the most beautiful places in Colorado (the world?), Emily is now able to better serve our Western Slope clients.
- Look for our upcoming article in the next edition of the award-winning Natural Gas and Electricity Journal tentatively titled Community Solar Rewards and Risks.
- We are also currently working on our Women Owned Business certifications through the Small Business Administration and Denver's Office of Economic Development.
As part of our continuing sustainability blog series, we are happy to announce our new blog titled Finding Money. We hope that you find our blog valuable and will share it with your friends and colleagues.
AUGUST 11, 2015
Lotus Engineering and Sustainability and Merrill Group are joining forces!
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It has been a very busy summer for Lotus Engineering and Sustainability and Merrill Group. We have partnered on great projects for the City of Lakewood, CLEER, and the Colorado Energy Office on a range of topics including energy efficiency and renewable energy finance, energy performance contracting, solar gardens, and sustainability goal planning.
Through these projects and through the many years we (Emily and Hillary) have worked together it became clear that it made sense for us to join forces in a more official capacity. As such, Merrill Group is merging with Lotus. Our complimentary skillsets allow us to bring additional expertise to our clients in a more streamlined fashion. Together we are able to help clients look at their environmental and social initiatives from various perspectives including public relations, financial, political, and engineering. In return, we are able to take complicated problems, analyze various solutions and strategies, and provide clients with defensible and effective next steps.
Emily Artale, Co-Owner and Principal Engineer at Lotus
Hillary Dobos, Co-Owner and Principal at Lotus
FEBRUARY 20, 2015
Welcome to 2015! The end of 2014 proved to be a very busy time for us and we have some exciting news to share!
Lotus recently developed customized calculators to determine the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction potentials which will support the City of Lakewood’s 2015 DRAFT Sustainability Plan. The reduction estimates will be used to help vet sustainability strategies and to help the City set GHG emission target values. Emily Artale flew to San Diego, CA to present The Risks and Rewards of Community Solar on a NREL panel for the 2015 Energy, Utility, and Environment Conference. This presentation provided recommendations to organizations that are considering developing their own community solar offerings. Emily will also be participating on NREL’s upcoming working group on community solar titled Marketing to Community Solar Participation: The State’s Role in Reducing in Risk. This working group will help inform state agencies and municipalities on how to market community solar to potential subscribers and prepare them for risk.
Merrill Group provided due diligence and request for proposal support for several clients, as well as helped review several documents including a document for the Rocky Mountain Institute titled "The Path to a Deep Energy Retrofit using an Energy Savings Performance Contract”.
Hillary Dobos also gave birth to her second son, Rodger, in December and has enjoyed her maternity leave.
As we enter this new year we hope to continue engaging with our clients by providing data and information that helps inform and simplify the decision-making process. And we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact us to discuss your energy and sustainability needs and visit our websites at http://www.merrillgroupllc.com/ and www.lotussustainability.com