CARE keeps summer cool for 116 Garfield County households
Rifle resident Trish O’Grady applied for Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program because she knew her house, built in 1951, needed insulation. It used to get very hot in the summer and was chilly and drafty in the winter.
“I was surprised at how much work they were willing and able to do,” O’Grady said of the work done at her home in early 2016. She received a new Energy Star refrigerator, three new windows, a furnace tune-up, attic and crawl space insulation, air sealing, LED light bulbs and a hot water heater blanket.
“My home is much cozier now,” said O’Grady. Whether it’s summer or winter, these upgrades make it easier to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. She has also enjoyed a year of lower energy bills.
Since CLEER pioneered the CARE program in 2015, it has served 116 households from Carbondale to Parachute. Every year, these households are expected to save $63,800 on their electric and gas bills, according to Maisa Metcalf, CLEER’s residential program manager.
The CARE program, administered throughout Garfield County by CLEER, with funding from Energy Outreach Colorado, Garfield Clean Energy and the town of Carbondale, is available to households that earn 80 percent or less of the county’s area median income. Homeowners and renters are eligible for CARE.
The program’s goal is to increase a home’s safety and comfort while reducing energy costs by implementing efficiency measures, for no cost to the participants.
Every month, CLEER’s residential program manager Maisa Metcalf visits several CARE households across Garfield County in search of opportunities to help save energy and reduce utility bills. Her expertise as a certified building analyst allows her to walk into a building and identify the efficiency of the appliances, windows, lighting and insulation.
“It’s a great program,” said Mary Layman, owner of Woodpecker Workshop Inc., a Silt company that has partnered with the CARE program on more than two dozen projects, mainly windows and repairs.
“Not only do the upgrades save energy and money, but they help people in the community improve their quality of life and their comfort, and that makes people happy,” Layman said.
“I like the fact that CARE employs local contractors,” said O’Grady. Woodpecker Workshop replaced O’Grady’s old single pane windows with new Energy Star certified double pane windows.
After the 2015 pilot CARE program in Garfield County proved successful, Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) partnered with other local agencies and utility companies to expand the program. It now serves 22 Colorado counties in Colorado, in mostly rural areas, including neighboring Pitkin and Eagle counties.
For 2017, CLEER received another grant from EOC, and Garfield Clean Energy has committed matching funds, making it possible for the CARE program to serve more Garfield County residents.
Most people are excited about the big-ticket items like refrigerators, windows and air sealing, but even simple changes can help households save energy.
“So far, we’ve installed over 500 LED light bulbs in CARE households across Garfield County,” said Metcalf. “It adds up to make a significant difference in our natural environment and in the lives of people we serve.”
To find out more information and how to apply, visit the CARE page on the Garfield Clean Energy website (http://garfieldcleanenergy.org/res-IQ-CARE.html), or contact CLEER at (970) 704-9200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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