Utah boasts a stunning variety of landscapes, climates and wildlife that e...Read More
Before you File
Best of Business 2011
In the Zone
The Business of Intelligence
When Opportunity Knocks
Utah boasts a stunning variety of landscapes, climates and wildlife that each year draws millions of visitors from around the world. But our air is too often polluted, and our burgeoning population consumes an ever-growing amount of energy and natural resources. But with entrepreneurial zeal, local companies see these challenges as opportunities to make a difference. Read on to learn about Utah businesses that are spearheading efforts to reduce our impact on the environment—our state’s greatest and most vital asset.
Based in Utah, REDCO is a major owner and developer of wind and solar projects throughout the country. The company owns more than 45,000 acres of land throughout the West and has more than 4 million square feet of rooftop space leased in 13 states for large-scale commercial solar development.
Its latest addition is a 600-kilowatt solar installation at the University of Utah. One system will be on the newly constructed Museum of Natural History and the other on an athletic building. The university has a 20-year agreement with REDCO to purchase all the power the solar installations generate.
“We are able to sell them solar power for the same power price they currently pay through Rocky Mountain Power,” says Ryan Davies, president and CEO of REDCO. “Due in large part to rising energy costs, technology improvements and a cost reduction in wind and solar components, renewable energy is now cost competitive with other forms of energy, making this a viable energy solution.”
Davies says there have been tremendous advances in solar technology, and costs have fallen by 20 to 25 percent each year, making solar a “very viable energy option for businesses.”
Mountain Vista Homes
The home construction industry has been among the hardest hit during the past few years of economic turmoil. But that did not stop Mountain Vista Homes from building the most up-to-date energy-efficient homes—nor did it put the brakes on sales. In fact, the company’s new construction starts increased each of the last three years, even while new starts fell drastically nationwide.
Customers are attracted by the potential lifetime cost savings of energy-efficient homes, as well as a greatly reduced impact on the environment, says Tyler Kukahiko, vice president of marketing communications for the company.
“But the real difference is made face-to-face when a prospect walks into one of our homes and sees the insulation blown tight between studs and filling all voids, feels the cool interior air unaffected by the sunlight coming through the dual-paned, low “E” windows, or hears no exterior sounds, blocked by blown-in fiberglass insulation and the sealing of all exterior penetrations.”
Mountain Vista Homes has achieved a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 65—a significantly better rating than is required to earn an Energy Star designation.
As a single-source provider for energy efficiency home improvements, DwellTek helps homeowners reduce the energy consumed by their existing home. The company conducts comprehensive energy assessments and can make the full range of necessary improvements, as well as solar installations. DwellTek takes a holistic approach to a home’s energy efficiency, providing the best return on investment possible.
“In fact, when you compare on an apples-to-apples basis, these types of improvements can generate returns greater than long-term stock market returns,” says Brad Peacock, principal with DwellTek.
DwellTek is one of Utah’s largest residential solar installers and can tackle complex energy-efficiency projects. But “it is often the simplest, least expensive actions can have the biggest improvement,” says Peacock. Simple behavioral changes can have a big impact, and “other relatively inexpensive improvements like reducing leaks and drafts and adding attic insulation also drive above-average return on investment.”
With residential homes consuming nearly a quarter of the total energy demand in the country, DwellTek’s approach promises to make a big dent in overall energy use—and in the utility bills of clients.
Creative Times, Inc. (dba CTI Construction)