Over the last year, 36 homeowners and renters in the Eagle Valley have benefited from CARE - the Colorado Affordable Residential Energy program, facilitated by Walking Mountains Science Center. The CARE program brings home energy savings and increased comfort to those most in need of help. These income-qualified households have benefited from home energy assessments that evaluate how energy is used in the home, the occupants comfort, and health & safety measures.
This past summer the Monreal Family of Eagle, CO were one of many that enrolled in the CARE program. “I knew the program by word of mouth, had heard only good things about it and how it improves the quality of life while assisting families in need of help. So I went ahead and contacted Walking Mountains to sign up for the CARE program,” said Melina Monreal, CARE Program Participant.
After completing an Energy Assessment on the home, the Walking Mountains Energy Smart team was able to develop an energy efficiency plan for their home. During the visit the Energy Analyst was able to install an insulated water heater blanket, pipe insulation, and high efficiency LED’s.
The largest opportunities for improvement identified in the home were the replacement of a 15 year old refrigerator, attic insulation and whole-home air sealing. With improperly installed attic insulation and a leaky building envelope (approximately 46% of the air left the home every hour) the home was in serious need of some energy improvements.
“When that much air is leaving a home on a hourly basis it becomes very difficult for the home’s heating and cooling systems to keep up, which in return uses more energy and costs the resident more money on their energy bills. I always like to tell people with a leaky home, it’s like leaving your front door open 24 hours a day and not knowing it,” said John-Ryan Lockman, Energy Programs Director at Walking Mountains.
After all these upgrades were complete the Walking Mountains CARE program was able to add significant insulation to the home’s attic and reduce the air leakage from 46% to just about 26%.
"The CARE Program helped us to understand how to better use and save energy. Financially, we were not able to make the needed changes in our house in order to keep our home warmer in winter and cooler in the summer. We did not know that the insulation in our attic was improperly installed. The CARE program assigned us a contractor to assess the house and work on improving the insulation in the attic, caulking around the windows, and tuning up the furnace so it would run as efficient as possible. We are so thankful to the CARE Program, Walking Mountains and the utilities that support it. Our experience was excellent and overall tremendously helpful, I will be recommending the program to residences of Eagle County,” said Melina.
Participants of the CARE Program like the Monreal family receive a free home energy assessment and energy-saving upgrades needed in their home. Potential upgrades may include some of the following energy efficient improvements: LED bulbs, programmable thermostats, hot water heater blankets, water pipe insulation, an EnergyStar refrigerator, efficient showerhead/aerators, air sealing, and/or insulation.
The CARE program at Walking Mountains is getting geared up and excited for the colder months ahead as they aim to help even more families over the next year. To learn more about the CARE program, and see a video about the work Walking Mountains Science Center is doing, visit www.walkingmountains.org/care.
In order to qualify for the program, the household income must be at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI). Funding for the CARE program is provided by Energy Outreach Colorado, utility partners Holy Cross Energy and Black Hills Energy, as well as the local Eagle County Eco-Build program. CLICK HERE to sign up for the CARE Program.