Energy-Saving Success Stories

The following stories highlight the ways business members have benefitted from the programs and resources offered by United Power. Optimize your efficiency by requesting an on-site analysis of the energy-related conditions in your facility. Through this no-cost assessment, a United Power representative will identify energy efficiency opportunities that show potential for improvement and savings.

If you have additional questions about programs designed especially for our business members, please contact your Community Affairs Representative.

Furniture Row

The Furniture Row Outlet off Interstate 25 in Dacono is home to Sofa Mart, Oak Express, Bedroom Expressions and Denver Mattress Company. Furniture Row provides a convenient shopping experience for home furnishings for every room at prices guaranteed to be lower than the competition. To maintain the lowest possible prices, Furniture Row takes advantage of their national buying power to keep costs low, but they also monitor their overhead costs including energy expenses.

When the Dacono location took a closer look at energy use to see if they could lower their energy costs, they called their representative at United Power. Furniture Row doesn’t operate heavy manufacturing equipment—their largest energy use comes from heating, cooling and lighting a massive warehouse-style facility. United Power was able to provide a no-cost energy efficiency walkthrough and has been following up to help them track their energy savings on a regular basis.  Furniture Row says they have realized energy savings of up to 20 percent just by making small changes that didn’t impact the comfort or aesthetics of their facility.

“Our United Power rep has been very helpful in assisting us in reducing our energy costs. By evaluating how we were using energy, he provided some tips to help us save. He follows up with us every six months to let us know how we’re doing. Seeing these comparisons has helped us track savings of 20 percent just by making a few small changes.” Toby Tinsley, Manager

Golden Aluminum

Golden Aluminum is one of United Power’s largest customers, but they’re small when compared to their competition, which is what gives them their competitive edge. Starting with aluminum scrap and over 50 percent recycled materials, Golden Aluminum uses a patented process to create FDA approved coated aluminum sheeting that is used for food packaging. Golden’s coated aluminum sheets become cans and caps for a variety of national products including the SPAM® lid, Gallo Wine bottle caps, Coors® beer can tabs, Enfamil® baby formula containers and more.

Golden’s small mill size and continuous casting technology allows them to provide smaller quantities. One example that has served them well is custom colored tabs—like pink tabs to be sold during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When promotions only require small quantities, the larger aluminum mills won’t touch the order, but Golden Aluminum gladly fills these orders and a niche in the market.

Golden runs three shifts and operates seven days a week to keep the fires burning and the casters turning. They also use a significant amount of energy, so reliable power and a strong relationship with their electric cooperative is vital to keeping a profitable operation rolling.

“United Power’s employees are professional and innovative. Anytime we need help, they are there and look at the big picture to find long-term solutions to our energy challenges. Of all the utilities I’ve worked with, United Power is the first utility that truly cares—they really want us to save money and to help us be successful.” Leland Lorentzen, General Manager

Eagles’ Nest Early Learning Center

Eagle’s Nest is a non-profit childcare center serving families in Gilpin County. Their programs encourage active learning for approximately 55 children each day ranging from 8 weeks to 6 years of age. Eagle’s Nest staff has the expertise to run a top-notch facility, but what they didn’t have was enough space or hot water.

Five years ago, the organization started saving and planning for an addition that would allow them to expand, and run the laundry and the dishwasher simultaneously. When the board of directors decided it was time to build, they sought out local energy expert Radiance Renewable Energy Systems to make sure their new energy bills didn’t break the bank.

Radiance helped Eagle’s Nest secure financing for their energy upgrades, which included cash rebates from United Power on a solar hot water system installed by Custom Solar and a geothermal heat pump system. Eagle’s Nest also plans to take advantage of United Power rebates on solar photovoltaic panels, electric water heaters and commercial lighting upgrades in 2010.

“As a non-profit funded by donations, it’s important that we spend every penny very wisely. Thanks to United Power for providing rebates that helped us to off-set the cost of our recent energy efficiency upgrades. Now we can spend less of our donations on our energy bills and more of it on the kids.” Linda Brown, Executive Director

Varra Companies

Family-owned Varra Companies provides sand, gravel, and concrete to rebuild roads, bridges and sometimes, entire communities.  In business since 1972, Varra Companies has a long résumé of high-profile projects including materials for Denver International and Stapleton Airports, concrete donations for the Columbine Memorial, bridge rebuilding after the Big Thompson flood, and various emergency road repairs along the Front Range. Reliable electric service and a direct ‘human’ contact at the utility are essential to operations at Varra Companies—especially when they have communities relying on them.

Electric supply also plays a central role in managing expenses at Varra.  To save money on volatile fuel costs, Varra is extending a conveyor system at one of their gravel pits simply because the cost to move sand and gravel on electric conveyors is less expensive and more efficient than hauling the material with diesel-fueled trucks.

This gravel pit is one of the many Varra facilities that have been served by United Power since 1972. They also operate facilities served by other Colorado cooperatives and investor-owned utilities. Owner Jack Varra says there is a distinct difference between doing business with an investor-owned utility versus being a member of an electric cooperative.

“We own facilities served by both co-ops and investor-owned utilities. The service we’ve received from co-ops over the years has always been superior. Whenever we need United Power, they are there. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, or who we call.” Jack Varra, Owner  



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