Garfield County kicks in to rural rebate program
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Garfield County may lend some public money to an effort aimed at encouraging up to 30 rural households to increase the energy efficiency of their homes next year.
The county commissioners on Monday agreed to kick in up to $17,250 in matching funds to a program aimed at providing rebates to rural homeowners around the county, as part of a statewide program being developed by the Governor’s Energy Office.
According to Heather McGregor of Clean Energy Economy for the Region, customers of Xcel Energy and SourceGas in communities from Carbondale to Parachute already have access to rebate programs through the utility companies.
But rural homeowners typically burn propane and do not get the same rebate offers for home energy audits and energy efficiency improvements, McGregor said.
The local funds will be matched, “dollar for dollar by the Governor’s Energy Office,” according to a statement from the Garfield-New Energy Community Initiative, which is managed by CLEER and is the county’s energy-efficiency entity.
“For rural residents with small homes, the rebate will pay about one-third of the total cost” of audits, insulation, duct sealing and furnace improvements, according to G-NECI.
A chart supplied to the commissioners by McGregor indicated that rebates could range from $1,100 for an energy-efficiency upgrade on a smaller home, valued at $3,500; to $1,650 for a project costing more than $10,000 on a larger home.
In a memorandum to the commissioners, McGregor indicated that the city of Glenwood Springs had agreed to kick in up to $150,000 for weatherization and other energy-efficiency programs in that community, and Rifle is providing up to $10,000 in assistance for its residents.
McGregor noted that if fewer than 30 households apply for the program, the county’s funds would be applied only to those who apply and are accepted.
The commissioners granted the request by a vote of 2-1, with Commissioner John Martin voting no.
“I don’t think the county needs to be a bank and do rebates and whatever,” he said.
The next step, according to McGregor, is for Garfield County and the initiative to work out a contract giving the details of the program, which are expected to be announced in a few months.
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Colorado’s Western Slope is considered a climate hot spot where temperatures are increasing faster than the global average. This warming has contributed to more than 20 years of dryness, which scientists are calling a megadrought.