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Free home energy upgrades offered to qualified households

2015 HOME ENERGY PROGRAM

If you or someone you know could be eligible, contact CLEER for more information: (970) 704-9200 or info@cleanenergyeconomy.net

INCOME QUALIFICATION

80 percent of area median income for Garfield County

Family size and income range

1 person, up to $41,400

2 people, up to $47,300

3 people, up to $53,200

4 people, up to $59,100

5 people, up to $63,850

6 people, up to $68,600

7 people, up to $73,300

8 people, up to $78,050

Households can be tenants or homeowners, and can be families, couples, singles or seniors.

Homes can be single-family, condos, apartments or mobile homes.

Garfield Clean Energy, the town of Carbondale and CLEER will provide home energy visits and free energy efficiency upgrades to 57 income-qualified households in Garfield County through the 2015 Home Energy Program.

"This program is for households with incomes that are just a bit too high to qualify for the region's other free weatherization program," said Erica Sparhawk, program director for CLEER, which manages Garfield Clean Energy.

CLEER's energy coaches will begin contacting households in neighborhoods from Parachute to Carbondale in the coming weeks to schedule home visits.

"Our bilingual team of certified energy coaches will visit the home, spending about an hour evaluating the home for the most needed energy efficiency upgrades. After the visit, the energy coaches will coordinate with local contractors to carry out the upgrades," Sparhawk said.

Depending on the needs of the home, energy upgrades could include furnace or boiler tune-up and safety check, insulation and air sealing, high-efficiency refrigerator, high-efficiency water heater, CFL light bulbs, storm windows, programmable thermostat and low-flow shower heads.

"Households won't have to pay for any of these improvements," Sparhawk said.

The home energy visits and energy upgrades are being paid for through a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, by funding from the town of Carbondale's Clean Energy 2020 program, and by the energy utilities serving Garfield County: Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy, Glenwood Springs Electric and SourceGas.

For rental housing, landlords will be asked to pay for up to 50 percent of the upgrades, Sparhawk noted.

Energy Outreach Colorado, the statewide nonprofit that helps low-income families and seniors pay energy bills, will handle the paperwork to make sure households qualify for the program.

"These energy efficiency upgrades mean these families and seniors are going to save on their utility costs, and that will trickle down to decisions about what food and medications they can afford," said Luke Ilderton, director of energy efficiency programs for Energy Outreach.

"The upgrades will also make their home healthier and safer, giving them a more comfortable living environment," he added.

Because the Garfield County program will leverage funding from energy utilities, it can help many more families, Ilderton said.

Already, Energy Outreach Colorado has a list of more than 400 families and seniors in Garfield County that would qualify for the program, Sparhawk said.

"We see a great need for helping low-income families and seniors reduce their utility costs. Energy efficiency upgrades are the best way to meet that need," Sparhawk said. "We hope to find additional funding for this effort, because we will be meeting just a small portion of the need in 2015."

In Pitkin County, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency offers a similar program to help low-income residents.