This is in response to Bill Grant’s Sept. 30 letter regarding Carbondale funds supporting energy savings and education programs. My parents live in Carbondale and are both in their 90s. They live in a wood-frame modular house constructed in 1970 with an addition from the early 1980s. Thanks to CORE they had an excellent energy audit done this year that included a thermal reading of all the heat leaks with very detailed instructions for where and how to seal these. The man who did the audit fixed three of the worst leaks. This audit cost my parents only $50, with CORE paying the rest. This inspection was much more thorough than the free audit that Holy Cross does, which they have also had done in the past. My parents also received a $100 rebate through CORE a few years ago when they needed to replace their dishwasher and another rebate when they had to get a new refrigerator. They live on a fixed income and these rebates have been very helpful.
I worked at CORE for nine months in 2004-05 managing the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP), whose money comes from people in Pitkin County who pay fees when they do not meet the green building code. This money is distributed throughout the valley, not just in Pitkin County, to homeowners who choose to put solar panels on or energy efficient appliances in their year-round homes. I processed people’s applications and cannot remember the percentage of funds that went to Carbondale, but I know that several of the solar installers who earned money with that technical work were Carbondale residents. At that time the Blue Creek energy efficient homes were being completed and CORE ran many tours for area architects and contractors before the lucky lottery winners moved into their new homes that they were able to purchase through the affordable housing program. CORE brought a great deal of money via federal grants into these demonstration homes to help local builders learn the newest in energy efficient building techniques.
As a CORE employee I wrote a grant to XCEL Energy for solar panels for Carbondale Town Hall. With that $25,000, Solar Energy International instructors and students worked with Sun Sense to put up the solar system, the first on a town hall in Colorado (summer 2005). The XCEL grant also provided two scholarships for local students that put up the solar system to attend the PV installation class. I was very pleased to be part of this exciting project and to bring these XCEL funds into the Carbondale economy and Town Hall as a CORE employee. I then left CORE to get a doctorate in design and planning at CU Boulder, grateful for all I had learned while at CORE that helped me instruct young undergrad architecture students.
What our local energy organizations do besides help valley citizens understand how to live well while using less energy is bring in lots of grant money that comes from other than local sources to run energy education and efficiency programs.