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Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy Program

Published: May 4, 2018

Colorado's Affordable Residential EnergyColorado’s Affordable Residential Energy program is a community and utility-sponsored program.  

It aims to help people make their homes more energy efficient by providing low-cost energy audits, installing free energy-efficient products such as light bulbs and showerheads, and educating homeowners on ways to reduce their energy usage.

And now that spring is here, homeowners are starting home-improvement projects – May is also National Home Improvement Month.

One of the most critical ways Summit County residents can improve their residences is by making them more energy efficient.

For lower-income families that struggle to budget for an energy audit, Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy program can help.  To qualify, a homeowner must have a household income of less than 80 percent of the area median income.

In Summit County, Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy program is administered by High Country Conservation.  High Country Conservation provides energy auditors and resources to help residents become more efficient.

High Country Conservation provides around 150 free or low-cost energy audits to Summit residents every year.  Most households in Summit County are considered inefficient – the age of the home is the most common and frequent reason.

Highlighting Easy Improvements

The majority of homes High Country Conservation audits in were built before 1990.  The majority of homes built in the ’70s have electric heat, which is not a very efficient way to heat a home compared to natural gas.

In the energy report, High Country Conservation highlights repairs that are the cheapest to make while providing the most benefits.  Safe to say it’s a lot better than replacing all your windows or swapping out your heating system for tens of thousands of dollars.

One of the biggest energy savers is making a home more airtight to make sure heat isn’t constantly being lost outdoors.  Air leaks are often the cheapest and most effective way to make a house more energy efficient, as it may only involve using cheap silicone around problem areas.

You can lose around 70 to 90 percent of all the air in a house within an hour, that’s an entire hour’s worth of heating wasted, and it happens all day long.

Other ways energy auditors like to help homeowners is by replacing old fluorescent or CFL bulbs with much more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

The same goes for water usage, which can be significantly lowered when a low-flow adapter for water faucets and showerheads are installed.  These upgrades can reduce a home’s water usage by half.

The Benefits

Homeowners can hire an audit of their residence which is a two-hour process.  Typical costs range from $99 to $400 depending on if you qualify for a homeowner discount.  The easy-to-follow report goes over the major items of concern, such as air leakage and energy hogs, and educates the homeowner on ways to improve or repair those areas of concern.  Addressing these concerns can reduce energy bills by up to half.

Additionally, High Country Conservation will always provide rebates to cover half the cost of any of the projects recommended in this report up to a $400 maximum rebate per-household, per-year.

The average Homeowner has about $400 in energy savings per-year by following recommendations and having energy upgrades done.  For residences in really bad shape, the cost of making major fixes may be recouped in a single year.

Currently, High Country Conservation is offering energy audits for $49 instead of $99.  For more information about how to apply for Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy program and get a low-cost energy audit, contact High Country Conservation at 970-668-5703 or Click Here.


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