Garfield Clean Energy is making waves with a new program to help low- and moderate-income households lower their utility bills and make their homes healthier and more comfortable.
ReEnergize Garfield County launched in February with $150,000 from the county to give out in rebates in 2022. The funding will enable ReEnergize to extend benefits to higher-earners who haven’t previously qualified, as well as to fill gaps in existing programs for low-income households.
The program is clearly meeting a need, because more than 50 households have already enrolled. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so interested residents should apply as soon as possible.
“Many of our families in Garfield County are struggling with rising energy prices, on top of the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “The ReEnergize program is providing relief in a way that will keep on giving, and the county is proud to be funding it.”
ReEnergize piggybacks on existing federal and state programs to provide a “one-stop shop” for income-qualified residents who need financial assistance to upgrade their homes to save energy and money, explained Maisa Metcalf, director of programs and services for CLEER, the local nonprofit that manages Garfield Clean Energy’s programs.
Find out more about ReEnergize by visiting the ReEnergize program page.
Through ReEnergize, families that earn less than 60% of the state median income will be automatically placed in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which covers home weatherization, window replacement and certain other energy-saving measures. Likewise, families earning up to 80% of the median income will get similar assistance through the Colorado Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program.
ReEnergize now extends the assistance to county residents earning up to 120 percent of the area median income, which for a family of four in Garfield County equates to an annual income of $105,960.
The program provides financial aid to middle-income households in two tiers. Those that earn 81-100% of the median are eligible for a rebate of up to $5,000 on recommended measures; for those that earn 101-120% of the median, the rebate cap is $3,000.
“If your home is cold and drafty, or it’s just costing you too much to heat and cool, ReEnergize can enable you to make some major fixes – for free, or at a heavy discount – and then you’ll save money on your utility bills every month after that,” Metcalf said.
ReEnergize participants will receive a free home energy assessment and a written report identifying specific measures that will do the most good and save the most money, along with individualized advice on how to proceed.
Recommended measures can range from inexpensive fixes like LED lights and programmable thermostats to major upgrades such as a new heating/cooling system, hot water heater or refrigerator. ReEnergize will also fund measures that address health and safety concerns, such as carbon monoxide leaks.
In addition, ReEnergize is partnering with the WAP and CARE programs to provide additional funding for certain expenses that they don’t cover. These include electrical upgrades, remediation of health and safety issues, and conversion from propane to electric heat.
“We really want to make it as easy as possible for people to get the maximum financial aid they qualify for,” Metcalf said. “That’s why we’re providing a one-stop-shop experience – just apply to ReEnergize and we’ll get you put into the program that’s right for you.”