Garfield Clean Energy: Working to improve your home’s efficiency as winter approaches | PostIndependent.com

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Garfield Clean Energy: Working to improve your home’s efficiency as winter approaches

Battlement Mesa residents Lavelle and Chuck Bottineau stand in front of their home after receiving a furnace tune-up and a new refrigerator through the CARE Program.

Battlement Mesa residents Lavelle and Chuck Bottineau stand in front of their home after receiving a furnace tune-up and a new refrigerator through the CARE Program.

Having already weathered the first few frosts of the season, many of us are taking measures to protect our gardens from the cold, but don’t forget that your household is susceptible to the icy bite of winter, too.

Thanks to Garfield Clean Energy and local utility companies, renters and homeowners can stay cozy and keep their energy bills low this winter through an abundance of rebates and subsidized programs for home energy efficiency upgrades.

The average U.S. home spends $2,200 annually on energy. Much of this energy is lost through leaky windows, ducts, old appliances or inefficient heating and lighting, costing households hundreds of dollars every year.

Garfield Clean Energy, a partnership between county government, all six municipalities in Garfield County as well as the Roaring Fork Transportation Agency and CMC, has helped over 700 homes from Parachute to Carbondale reduce their utility bills by up to 25 percent. Based on the U.S. average cost of household energy use that equals over $500 of savings per year.

GCE invites you to save on your energy bills this winter through professional upgrades to your home.

Step one is to contact an energy coach from CLEER, the Carbondale nonprofit that is contracted by Garfield Clean Energy. The coach will perform an energy audit or line up a professional contractor to do so.

Participating homeowners receive quick fix items like LED light bulbs, water heater insulation and low flow showerheads and faucets. After your home’s energy efficiency is scored, CLEER’s coaches help you tap into rebates for insulation, furnaces, boilers, air sealing and programmable thermostats. The program is available for all customers of Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy, Black Hills Energy or Glenwood Springs Electric. Rebates can cover up to 50 percent of project costs.

For households that meet the income qualifications, improvements can be done ​at no cost to the homeowner or renter.

“Anybody would love to have a CLEER energy coach come and audit their home; they were just fabulous,” said Ilene Pevec of Carbondale, whose 40-year-old home was in need of efficiency updates.

“It has been enormously helpful to our household,” said Pevec, who received new double pane windows in her basement, a new Energy Star-certified refrigerator, and attic insulation. “The upgrades made such a difference in the comfort of that space, especially the windows. When we had single-paned, we would feel the cold radiating in from outside.”

Based on Pevec’s income, all of these measures were paid for through Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) Program.

To qualify for this CARE program, homeowners or renters must make less than 80 percent of the area median income in their county. If you think you might qualify, give CLEER a call. Even if you don’t qualify for CARE, it’s worthwhile to sign up for an energy audit.

“Our energy coaches can help you get 75 percent off the cost of a home energy assessment, find reliable contractors, review bids, and apply for financing and rebate options available,”says Maisa Metcalf, who manages CLEER’s Home Energy Program.

Don’t let your rebates go unclaimed — upgrade your home today and enjoy a more comfortable home with lower energy use for years to come.

Now is the perfect time to call CLEER at 970-704-9200 or visit us at our office in the Third Street Center in Carbondale. Our energy coaches are always happy and available to talk about how you can improve comfort and save money on your energy bills this winter season.