Introduction to Energy Action + Your Tools at Sterling Ranch
Welcome to Sterling Ranch's Crash Course on Energy!
In 2020, Sterling Ranch set out to reach an objective established in our technology roadmap: to identify a path toward net-zero energy usage. We joined Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy program to outline concrete steps toward achieving two long-range energy goals:
By joining this email program, you've taken your first energy action to support these ambitious goals! Over the next year, you'll receive a message to your inbox once a month with information on how our energy system works, key opportunities for Sterling Ranch residents to save energy, and more! Resident participation in our Energy Action Plan is essential to our progress, and we hope this email program makes you feel supported in understanding what energy action means for you.

But first, what do renewable electricity and carbon neutrality mean and why does Sterling Ranch care?
Powering our community with 100% renewable electricity means that all electricity consumption in Sterling Ranch is met with electricity generated from renewable sources - mostly wind and solar. This type of electricity generation avoids the emission of harmful Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) that is characteristic of carbon-based electricity generation methods such as burning coal and natural gas.

The emission of GHGs like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) have been scientifically linked to global warming and its associated climate impacts, so mitigating the release of these gases into our atmosphere by opting for cleaner forms of electricity generation is essential for building a sustainable world.

Having a carbon neutral energy supply means that our community isn't only fully powered by clean electricity, but that we've also reduced our dependence on GHG emissions-heavy gas combustion for water and space heating. Switching from gas appliances to electric ones allows us to use our clean electricity supply to meet all of our community's energy needs!

Currently, Sterling Ranch is one tenth of the size that it'll be at full buildout in 2040. If current trends in community energy use continue as new homes are constructed, Sterling Ranch's greenhouse gas emissions are projected to multiply more than 6 times over as shown in Figure 1 above.

As we grow, we have an opportunity to use the cutting-edge technology tools available to our community to live out our value of stewardship and manage our environmental impact.
Your Major Tools for Energy Action at Sterling Ranch
Energy efficient construction and renewable energy resources have been key parts of Sterling Ranch's development since the beginning of planning, and these considerations have allowed us to manage our energy demand to an impressive extent. However, to reach the full energy savings payoff from these developmental initiatives, Sterling Ranch residents also need to be resource conscious after they move into their homes. The following two tools are great resources to utilize to better measure, understand, and manage your energy use at Sterling Ranch.
Copper Labs
Every home in Sterling Ranch comes with a Copper system installed for wireless real-time utility monitoring. Download the Copper Home Energy Monitoring app in Google Play or the Apple App Store to receive powerful visualizations and insights on your energy, water, and gas usage as well as your solar generation if your home has a system installed. Enable beta features and push notifications to participate in programs that will guide you in reducing your energy use.
Xcel Energy
Did you know that Sterling Ranch's utility Xcel Energy has a goal of providing its Colorado customers with 80% renewable energy by default by 2030? Beyond cleaning up its energy mix, Xcel Energy has a plethora of renewable energy and energy efficiency program offerings that Sterling Ranch residents can participate in to save energy while also saving on their utility bills. Enable email updates in your Xcel Energy customer portal to stay up to date with ways to take action through your utility.
What's Ahead?
You're already one twelfth of the way through your crash course program! The following topics will be addressed in the emails to come over the next year, and each email will come with actionable tips that you can integrate into your everyday habits to get started on energy action now.

  • 2/12: Background on Basic Energy Topics
  • 3/12: Navigating your Xcel Energy Portal
  • 4/12: Navigating your Copper Home Energy Monitoring App
  • 5/12: Energy Use in the Home, Part 1: Heating and Cooling
  • 6/12: Energy Use in the Home, Part 2: Using Appliances
  • 7/12: Energy-Efficient Home Design and Maintenance
  • 8/12: Xcel Energy Efficiency Programs
  • 9/12: Background on Renewable Energy Topics
  • 10/12: Xcel Energy Renewables Programs
  • 11/12: Intro to Electrification and Electric Vehicles
  • 12/12: How to Continue Energy Action

Energy action is easier to undertake than a lot of people think, and with the tools available to us at Sterling Ranch, eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels is within our reach. Our energy landscape can be complex to understand, but we'll break it down for you to provide the informational background you need to feel confident in your energy actions. Thank you for being here, and we're looking forward to see what you achieve as an energy steward at Sterling Ranch!
1 US Environmental Protection Agency.