Madison Monthly Market Stats: November 2017

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See full DMAR Report here.

Madison Monthly Market Stats: Madison Market Report: September 2017

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Solar Eclipse 2017

August 21 marks the “sight of a lifetime,” a full solar eclipse that can be seen across North America. This solar eclipse is special because it will reach totality, which is when the sun is fully covered by the moon. The catch is…totality can only be viewed across a 60-70 mile radius. While Colorado isn’t in the direct line of totality, nearby states are. Whether you decide to travel to see the full coverage of the sun or stay in Denver to see partial coverage, the sight will be breathtaking. We have a few tips and tricks for your solar eclipse viewing experience.

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If you decide to travel…

Seeing the eclipse at totality is worth the travel. This incredible sight is awe-inspiring, tear-inducing, and maybe even life-changing. We can’t stress it enough, though, plan ahead. All Denverites (should at this point) know how rough I-25 and I-70 get during rush hour, and traffic on these main routes will be infinitely worse the day of the eclipse. Give yourself double or even triple the amount of anticipated drive time and be prepared to sit in some peak ski-season-esque traffic. Good tunes, podcasts, or breaking out the old road tripping games can help make this part of the adventure more enjoyable.

Wyoming and Nebraska are the closest spots for viewing the eclipse at totality. You may still be able to get a hotel room, but most have been booked out for weeks and any openings are going for record-high prices. Camping or driving in day-of (don’t forget about the traffic) may be your best bet for this solar eclipse. Here are the closest places to view the eclipse at totality.

Where: Wheatland, Wyoming

Distance from Denver Metro Area: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Extra Info: You’ll get approximately 51 seconds of totality

Where: Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Distance from Denver Metro Area: 3 hours and 15 minutes

Extra Info: Scotts Bluff National Monument is a convenient and absolutely gorgeous place for eclipse viewing

Where: Glendo, Wyoming

Distance from Denver Metro Area: 3 hours and 15 minutes

Extra Info: Head to Glendo State Park for best viewing opportunities

Where: Alliance, Nebraska

Distance from Denver Metro Area: 4 hours

Extra Info: Go to Carhenge for the viewing, you’ll get to see the eclipse plus a car version of Stonehenge, definitely a win-win

Wyoming and Nebraska are your closest options for full eclipse viewing. But NASA has an interactive map of all the other places you can visit to see this breathtaking phenomenon. To receive text updates on the eclipse, simply text the word “ECLIPSE” to 888777.

Since travel isn’t for everyone…

Work schedule, finances, mobility, and other factors mean travel isn’t accessible to everyone. Never fear! There are numerous opportunities to see partial coverage here in Denver, and while the partial eclipse may not induce as many tears as the eclipse at totality, it still promises to be incredible and awe-inspiring.

A number of places in Colorado are hosting viewing parties, complete with fun events, food and drink specials, exhibits, and more to celebrate the event.

In the Mountains:

Vail’s Walking Mountains Science Center will be hosting a free viewing at the Westin Riverfront & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. They will be providing free admission and solar filter glasses for the viewing!

A-Basin is opening up the base of the mountain for eclipse viewing. You can hike up the mountain, or take advantage of free chairlift rides! Don’t forget to bring a pair of glasses with you. 

In Colorado Springs, the Space Foundation Discovery Center is having an entire party to celebrate the solar eclipse! The party is included in the $10 price of general admission. Bring a pair of glasses just incase they run low.

Local Denver Spots:

Most local libraries are hosting viewing parties and providing free glasses while supplies last. Many locations will also be offering education and eclipse programming.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will also be holding an eclipse party from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., free with general admission ($16.95/adult). They will be providing special programming in addition to the solar eclipse viewing. Glasses will be provided first-come, first-serve and when supplies run out additional pairs can be purchased in the gift shop.

Blue Moon RiNo will be hosting an eclipse party, partnering with radio station Alice 105.9 to bring brews and tunes to an already magical experience. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with complimentary glasses plus enticing food and drink specials.

Declaration Brewing Company is also hosting a solar eclipse viewing party from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and you really can’t beat Declaration’s amazing brews plus a spectacular space event! Declaration promises souvenir beer glasses, drink specials, yard games, and food trucks to make the party unforgettable.

The suburbs aren’t letting Denver have all the fun. Tavern Littleton is partnering with Historic Downtown Littleton to host an epic eclipse viewing party. Festivities go from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with free viewing glasses and food and drink specialties. The Arapahoe Community College Astronomy Department will be in attendance offering programming and eclipse expertise.

About those glasses…

We’ve mentioned solar filter glasses a few times. These are an absolute must for safely viewing the solar eclipse. NASA’s safety tips  make it clear that regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, will not suffice. Staring directly at the sun can cause eye damage. Check out this list for recommended places to access safe solar eclipse viewing glasses and filters. If you are in a location to view totality, be sure to take your glasses off at the point of totality for the full breathtaking effect of the eclipse.

If you missed it…

Never fear! Another eclipse is estimated to happen in 2024 and 2045’s solar eclipse will happen directly over Colorado. There is also an eclipse simulator and this virtual experience from CNN that gives you a glimpse at the full experience.

Did you see the eclipse? Share your stories, reactions, and photos with us on our Facebook page! 

Solar Energy: Just a Fad or Worth the Investment?

Solar panels and other renewable energy sources are a big investment. It’s easy to wonder…is this a worthwhile investment for my home or just something popular that will be irrelevant a few years from now? Solar power is a growing industry that’s here to stay. The positive impact it will have on your home and the environment as a whole is well worth the investment and can save you money on electric and energy bills in the long run.

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A renewable energy source, solar power is unique because it does not emit harmful greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. The most abundant source of renewable energy, this powerful energy source is already used by many homes and businesses. There are a few types of solar energy systems. Solar power simply refers to any system that converts the sun’s light or heat into usable energy.

There are two primary systems for harnessing solar energy – active and passive. Active solar systems convert the sun’s heat or light into usable energy using mechanical or electrical devices. Passive solar systems don’t require mechanics or moving parts. They are specifically designed to collect and store heat energy from sunlight for heating or electric.

In the last ten years residential solar has skyrocketed, more than tripling the number of homes with solar. Over 1 million homes in the United States alone have rooftop solar in their homes. It is projected that by 2020 nearly 4 million homes will have rooftop solar.

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(Graphic from Namasté Solar)

 

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In addition to the obvious benefit of taking good care of the earth and making sustainable, environmentally friendly choices…solar energy also has more personal benefits for your home, family, and budget.

  • Save money on electric and heating bills. While you will have to spend some money upfront for solar panels, the money you will save using renewable energy will cover the costs and decrease your bills.
  • There are solar energy tax credits, incentives, and rebates. The federal government offers a tax credit and many states, local governments, and municipalities offer additional credits. Depending on location, other solar energy incentives and rebates exist, adding another layer of financial benefit.
  • Solar power isn’t limited to sunny places. Sunlight still gets through clouds, and while diffused sunlight is not as ideal as direct, it can still be converted into energy.
  • Creates more jobs. Employment in the United States solar industry has skyrocketed and will continue to grow with the projected growth of home solar energy use. According to SolarCity, “employment in the U.S. solar industry recently surpassed 200,000 people – that’s more than the oil and gas extraction industry, and three times more than the coal-mining industry.”

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The first step to introducing solar energy to your home is to get a quote. Companies like SolarCity, Namaste Solar (a local Colorado company) EnergySage, SunRun, NRG Home Solar, SunPower, and more will often offer free quotes and estimates to help you find the right solar panel option for you.

If you aren’t ready to jump fully in with solar panels, there are lots of smaller ways to get your feet wet in the sustainability and renewable energy game.

  • Unplug electronics when not in use. Even when devices are turned off, if they remain plugged in they can still use electricity. Get a power strip that turns off, unplug your microwave and toaster when not in use, don’t leave your phone charger plugged in when your phone isn’t charging, and always remember to turn lights off when not in use! You’ll save energy and reduce your electric bill.
  • Power devices with rechargeable batteries. Amazon has a wide selection of rechargeable batteries and chargers, and this easy way to use less energy is quite convenient. Once you start using solar panels, you won’t even have to use electricity to charge the batteries!
  • Get a solar oven and/or solar water heater. Solar water heaters use the sun to heat a reserve water connected to the plumbing. Solar ovens can be purchased or built. Cook your food with the power and heat of the sun, saving tons of electricity and starting small on the road to solar energy.
  • Use daylight whenever possible. Especially in sunny Colorado, the power of our natural light is incredible! Practice not turning the lights on if a room is already well lit by the sun.

All in all, solar energy can decrease your carbon footprint, help the environment, save you money, and contribute to the growing industry of renewable energy. A win all around!