HG: SustainAbility Column October 04, 2008

Upgrading a home to make it more energy efficient is not just for the wealthy.

With the help of Housing Resources of Western Colorado, more efficient options may be within your reach.

Part of Housing Resources’ mission is “to promote the wise and sustainable use of resources.” Through weatherization and housing rehabilitation programs, the nonprofit corporation assists qualifying households with improvements that can make a big difference.

“We are able to bring more comfort to a home, use less energy and lower utility costs per month,” said Jon Lindman, who handles community relations.

The weatherization program is free to qualifying participants (see box for basic guidelines) and consists of two major programs.

Housing Resources weatherizes more than 400 households a year.

One aspect of the program is The Energy Saving Partnership. This collaboration with Xcel Energy and the state of Colorado offers a range of energy saving measures, including insulation and adding second panes of glass to windows.

Insulation is added to the ceiling and the walls and crawl space, when possible. The extra panes of glass are cut at Housing Resources’ on-site window shop.

The Energy Saving Partnership also supports a program in cooperation with Western Colorado Conservation Corps, a division of Partners.

Members of the corps distribute compact fluorescent light bulbs and inventory homes to see what additional Housing Resources programs may be needed.

The other weatherization program replaces gas furnaces and refrigerators that meet criteria for inefficiency. If you meet financial qualifications, a special database is used to see if your model fridge or furnace is eligible for replacement.

New fridges will be the most efficient models available as old fridges are removed by Housing Resources for proper disposal.

When a gas furnace is replaced, a high-efficiency model is installed along with new vents and improvements to duct work.

Weatherization programs used to require Low-income Energy Assistance Program qualification for participants, but a recent law expanded the scope to include higher income levels.

The housing rehabilitation program is a revolving loan fund and makes loans available to qualifying clients for major home repairs and upgrades. With loan availability tightening in a precarious economy, Housing Resources can be a welcome relief.

“We configure delivery of services for each client,” said Lindman. In an effort to maximize services, a combination of weatherization and rehabilitation programs may be used.

To find out if you qualify for these programs that have a sizable impact, call 241-2871.

The Web site is http://www.housingresourceswc.org, but since things change rapidly, figures on the site may not be up to date.

Lindman also hosts “Home Talk,” a monthly radio show on KAFM from noon to 1 p.m., the third Wednesday of each month. Tune in to 88.1 on Oct. 15 to learn more about energy conservation in your home.

Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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