The Bozeman Energy Project and the Bozeman Energy Smackdown

Friday Apr. 1st, 2016

The City of Bozeman is working hard to help our community save money and resources with The Bozeman Energy Project and the Bozeman Energy Smackdown energy conservation programs for businesses and residents.

Energy savings are a simple and proven way to put money back into your business or household budget, and in turn the savings stimulate the local economy. It’s a winning combination of a green, healthier community, stronger local economy, and improved quality of life.

The Bozeman Energy Project is helping Bozeman area businesses save energy and money by reducing energy waste in business operations. As a business leader in our community, you wouldn’t pay two employees to do a job easily accomplished by one, so why pay for energy you don’t need? The Bozeman Energy Project helps you identify and prioritize energy saving opportunities, implement efficiency or conservation projects, and track savings over time.

In September 2014, Bozeman Energy Project partner the Altitude Gallery completed an LED lighting retrofit of the gallery. To an art gallery, lighting is everything. The Altitude Gallery had been using halogen lighting, which put off so much heat they would have to open their door even in the winter to let the heat escape. The heat from the halogen lights also damaged the artwork; with the new LED lights, they no longer have to rotate artwork to avoid heat damage. Since replacing their lights, the Altitude Gallery has reduced energy use by 61%, reduced energy costs by 64%, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 62%. The project’s return on investment was just 8 months; the Gallery continues to benefit from 64% lower power bills every month and they no longer struggle with a space that is too hot.

Last fall, the Community Food Co-op replaced over 300 fluorescent bulbs in the West Main store with energy efficient LED lighting, saving money, energy and time on maintenance and replacing burned out bulbs. The new lighting is improving the lifespan of their produce, and the Co-op no longer has to treat burned out bulbs as hazardous waste due to Mercury content—LED bulbs don’t contain Mercury. A $2,500.00 City incentive, a $6,000.00 grant from the USDA Rural Development REAP program, and a rebate from NorthWestern Energy covered approximately 40% of the total project costs, which will pay back in just 4 years. “This LED lighting retrofit saves us money on our energy bills, which allows us to pass those savings on to our customers throughout the store. It’s in our best interest to be efficient and not wasteful; being wasteful goes against our values as a company and against the values of our members,” said Chris Berman, Facilities Manager at the Co-op.

Partner businesses benefit from financial and resources savings, exposure through program website, marketing and outreach, resources and workshops on energy efficiency and conservation technologies and strategies, and a peer support network.
Bozeman Energy Project partners include Absaroka Energy, the Altitude Gallery, Owenhouse Ace Hardware, Allegra Marketing • Print •Mail, Beaudette Consulting Engineers, The Community Food Co-op, The Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company, Dave’s Sushi, The Loft Spa, Mint Dental Studio, Slabworks of Montana, West Paw Design, Clark’s Fork Restaurant, Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot, Old Main Gallery and Framing, Lone Mountain Gymnastics and Swim School, Red Tractor Pizza, Sola Café, Refuge Sustainable Building Center, the Nova Café, Movie Lovers, The Garage Mesquite Grill and Soup Shack, the Montana Weatherization Training Center, Universal Athletic, MacKenzie River Pizza Company, Williams Pump n Pak, Gallatin Valley Carpet One and Gallatin Valley Furniture.

The Bozeman Energy Smackdown is a home energy conservation competition that will connect you to the resources and information you need to save energy, save money and make your home healthier and more comfortable. You can compare your energy use to that of your neighbors and energy efficient homes to see where you stack up, and be eligible for monthly $100 Downtown Dollars gift cards and two grand prizes of $1000 to your favorite local home improvement store! The competition runs from May 2015 – April 2016, and will start again in the fall of 2016.

To date, monthly winners have saved between 25% and 54% on their monthly utility bills for the month they won, when compared to the same month the previous year.
The City of Bozeman has partnered with the WattzOn Energy Center to make it easy. Participants will link their utility account to the WattzOn Energy Center platform, and the Energy Center will automatically track progress by uploading utility data each month, taking the hard work out of understanding your energy use. You will be able to create a personalized plan of activities, access tips to lower your energy bills and information on available resources and rebates, and receive custom emails with detailed energy use data and no- or low-cost energy reduction strategies.

Both programs offer a free energy appraisal and potential rebates from NorthWestern Energy*, prizes and/or cash incentives, and will help you gain increased awareness of your energy use and learn energy efficiency and conservation strategies to reduce your energy use and save money.

The Bozeman Energy Project and the Energy Smackdown are open to any Bozeman area business or resident (both homeowners and renters); all participants may be eligible for NorthWestern Energy rebates, but only businesses and residents within the city limits are eligible for City of Bozeman cash incentives and Smackdown prizes. For more information or to become a Bozeman Energy Project partner, please visit For more information or to participate in the Bozeman Energy Smackdown, please visit *NorthWestern Energy provides free energy appraisals to residential utility customers to identify electric conservation opportunities and a greater understanding of how their operation and maintenance strategies can affect their utility charges. Some restrictions apply. Call (800) 823-5995 for details.

Spring 2016 Sustainability Workshop Series
The City of Bozeman, Montana State University Extension – Housing & Environmental Health Program and the MT Weatherization Training Center are pleased to present the spring 2016 Sustainability workshop series.
Workshops will be held on the 2nd Thursday of each month from February through May, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Beall Park Recreation Center (415 N. Bozeman Ave.). Food and drinks provided—bring your own mug (drinks sponsored by the Southwest Montana Building Industry Association).

Upcoming workshops include:
April 14: The Solar State of Affairs
• Learn about the latest technology and current policy landscape for solar in Montana, the status of NorthWestern Energy funding for solar projects, and an overview of the first utility-scale solar pilot project in Bozeman
• Presentations/Q&A with Montana Renewable Energy Association, NorthWestern Energy and the City of Bozeman
May 12: Water Conservation in Bozeman
Fast and easy ways to save water around your home
• Learn about rebates offered by the City of Bozeman, how much water is used in your home, and simple water conservation strategies like how to check for leaks, high efficiency fixtures and retrofits for indoor and outdoor uses, and landscaping tips to reduce outdoor water needs and keep your lawn trout friendly.

• Presentation/Q&A with the City of Bozeman’s Water Conservation Specialist

For more information about the Spring Sustainability Workshop series, visit or call 406-582-2370