Eartha Steward

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October 10, 2012
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Ask Eartha: Frisco: energy audit leader

Dear Eartha,

I live in a condo, what sort of energy rebates are there for me? It seems like attached housing is always left out.

- Ryan, Frisco

Good news, we have something for you! Up until last month we would have said sorry Ryan, you do not qualify for the Xcel energy audit or upgrade rebates. Xcel Energy offers a great rebate for 60 percent of the cost of a home-energy audit, up to $200, but you do not qualify if you live in attached housing of more than four units with centralized heat. The new Xcel Energy rebate has helped to spur demand in the past few months so that Summit County homes have accomplished more than 100 audits this year. But unfortunately, none of those audits were completed on multi-family units. The census tells us that multi-family units are a significant portion of our housing, 57 percent actually.

But this year the town of Frisco took note of this gap in service. They are offering free or nearly free energy audits to multi-family unit buildings in Frisco that are not able to receive the Xcel rebate. The town of Frisco is offering $1,000 to cover an energy audit for Frisco multi-family or attached housing. We have enough funding for four full energy audits. If the energy audit indicates that upgrades are recommended, an additional $2,000 is available to go toward energy upgrades. Upgrades can include anything listed on the audit including heating, ventilation, air sealing and insulation, energy management, lighting and appliances.

Our goal is to improve energy efficiency, safety and comfort in our multi-family housing stock. It's about time somebody paid attention to the majority of the homes we live in here in Summit County. So if you live in a multi-family or attached housing complex and want to lower your energy bill, give us a call. We are administering the program on the town of Frisco's behalf. If you are already doing an improvement to your units, like a new roof or new siding or a new garage then now is the perfect time to think about energy efficiency.

A multi-family audit is similar to a single-home audit in that it will give your board energy and cost savings recommendations and analysis. If you consider that an average home energy retrofit in Colorado saves 20-30 percent on energy bills, this can really add up to a lot of savings when dozens of units are considered. The audit will also include an analysis of HVAC systems: heating, cooling and ventilation efficiency, safety, comfort. Qualified auditors will conduct an analysis of the building envelop that includes air sealing, blower door and infrared camera testing on a representative sample of units. Electric priorities will be examined including lighting, appliances and other electric equipment. We will also take a look at how the building is managed to see if there are any improvements to be made.

The town of Breckenridge is also conducting a pilot multi-family unit energy efficiency project and may have some incentives in the future, so stay tuned. This is the first time support has been available to multi-family units in Frisco (and the county) and we expect the funds to go quickly. If your board is interested, please call us at (970) 668-5703.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at eartha@highcountryconservation.org.


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The Summit Daily Updated Oct 10, 2012 08:00PM Published Oct 10, 2012 07:56PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.