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Summit County Gov’t to offer help for weatherization in 2010

CAITLIN ROW
summit daily news
In this photo taken Nov. 5, 2009, Nick Velasquez, the crew leader for the Energy Resource Center, blows cellulose insulation into a client's home in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Kirk Speer) MAGS OUT. NO SALES
AP | The Gazette

SUMMIT COUNTY – A new year in Summit County means a push toward energy conservation. To save locals money on energy, towns recently partnered with the High Country Conservation Center to offer locals deals on energy-efficiency updates in 2010.

“There’s a lot going on right now getting ready for 2010 with energy efficiency,” said High Country Conservation Center director Carly Wier, noting that Summit County initiatives are focused on homes and buildings.

According to Wier, Summit County Government has a $100,000 pot associated with energy efficiency home updates, and it will be distributed to homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis. Improvements covered by the fund include insulation, windows and doors, as well as furnace and boiler upgrades. In coming years, Wier said she hopes the fund will grow to cover renewable energy upgrades too.

“The county will have a revolving loan fund that you can take out,” Wier said. “It’s tied to property tax, and it’s not through a traditional bank loan. It’s operated like a special improvements district. Only those wanting to participate do, and they pay it back through their property taxes. It’s not a blanket tax.”

Frisco’s senior planner Jocelyn Mills said she supports the energy audit program.

“It goes along with town goals for reducing emissions and energy savings,” she said. “It’s better for the environment and it saves money. … Council wants to encourage the community to make their homes more energy efficient to help the town reach its goals.”

And though the program is only available for homeowneres, Mills said renters could encourage their landlords to look into energy audit and upgrade options.To qualify for energy-efficiency upgrade funding, homeowners must have an energy audit first.

“Any qualified company can do it,” Wier said. “You must get an audit to make sure the money is going to lower your energy bills.”

Local options for energy audits include the High Country Conservation Center and Comfort by Kodiak (sponsored by Xcel Energy).

High Country Conservation Center spokeswoman Jen Santry said all four towns – Silverthorne, Frisco, Breckenridge and Dillon – are going to offer rebates on energy audits for the program. Homeowners should contact their town for more information.

A number of direct cash rebates for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades are available in 2010, Wier said. And funds are secured through a partnership between all Summit County jurisdictions and the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office.

“Those will be for appliances, insulation, heating and solar,” Wier said.

For more info about energy audits and home-upgrade funding programs, call the High Country Conservation Center at (970) 668-5703.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.


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