Red Lodge Energy Tour Highlights Community Leaders and Energy Conservation

The community of Red Lodge has distinct community leaders paving the way for energy conservation and renewable energy. On September 8th, 2011 AERO partnered with the Carbon County Resource Council to showcase community leadership on energy measures during a tour of new and old buildings in Red Lodge.

Biodiesel bus from Beartooth Bus Tours

The tour began with a presentation on biodiesel by Mike Taylor of Beartooth Bike Tours. Mike brews biodiesel to use in their tour bus. The first stop on the tour was the Historic Moran Mansion where builder Dave Anderson gave us a tour of energy retrofits including blown cellulosic insulation, a PV array and a geothermal heat pump.

Participants learn about solar PV

Tour participants visited another one of Dave’s homes, a rental property with passive & active solar as well as recycled materials. The upstairs unit of this property features a glass floor to increase sun exposure. The bottom unit includes recycled glass flooring and an irrigation system that first pumps water through the concrete floor to help cool the house.

Passive and active solar working to offset utility costs

At Café Regis, participants toured the Café’s greenhouse and gardens where food is grown on site for the kitchen and where food scraps return to be composted. Martha Young, owner, has installed a swamp cooler which is powered by a small solar panel, as well as a Freeaire refrigeration system – which pulls cold air from outside into the cooler– both systems save money on electric bills. Martha’s dedication to sustainability is also demonstrated by the rooftop solar system as well as the Activeion ionator which reduces chemical use.

Solar & freeaire refrigeration at Cafe Regis

From there, the tour headed outside of town to the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The City of Red Lodge took advantage of stimulus funds to install a 48kW solar array at the sewage plant – the second largest energy user for the municipality. Citizen initiative from the local Climate Protection Group helped spur the conversation for the City Council.

The final stop on the tour was Red Lodge Ales, where Kathi Montgomery from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) gave a presentation on financing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Next, Sam Hoffman gave a tour of sustainability features at the brewery. When building a new taproom Sam included solar hot water to heat the brewing water and a Freeaire refrigeration system for the coolers. In addition, Sam brews biodiesel from used vegetable oil that he picks up at local restaurants when delivering kegs. The biodiesel is used in some of the brewery’s delivery trucks.


Solar hot water at Sam's Taproom.

Thank you to our presenters and hosts in Red Lodge! To see Carbon County New’s overview of the tour click here and here.


Extra! Our next Energy Tour is in Philipsburg on Wednesday September 21st. The tour begins at 9:30am, the cost is $10. The tour starts at Granite High School to see their biomass boiler which converts wood waste to heat. From there we will tour the city’s hydropower plant and learn about the history of hydro in the Flint Creek Valley. Afterwards we will drive north to Hall to see solar hot water used to wash wool at Sugarloaf Wool Mill and solar shingles at a private residence. To register or for more information on the Energy Tours call AERO, 443-7272. To register online click here.

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