Oct. 20, 2010, Denver, Colo. – October is National Energy Awareness Month, and residents of the San Luis Valley have an opportunity to receive free energy efficiency upgrades to their homes, helping them prepare for the cold winter months. Veterans Green Jobs provides income-qualified households with free weatherization services that help homes consume less energy, make residents warmer and safer, and reduce utility bills year round. San Luis Valley residents are encouraged to call Veterans Green Jobs today to sign up for their free services.
How Weatherization Helps
By making simple repairs – such as replacing or repairing outdated appliances, sealing windows to keep cold air out, and insulating attics and crawlspaces – residents can dramatically lower their utility bills while improving the comfort of their home. Veterans Green Jobs, a Denver-based nonprofit committed to connecting military veterans with meaningful opportunities in the green jobs economy, provides these services to income-qualified residents at no cost.
260 Homes Weatherized
Veterans Green Jobs has a contract with the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office to weatherize income-qualifying homes in the San Luis Valley, leveraging dollars in stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Now in its second year providing these services to the six county-region, Veterans Green Jobs’ San Luis Weatherization Program, located in Alamosa, has weatherized a total of 260 homes since 2009. The current, $1.8 million contract is effective June 30, 2010 to July 1, 2011. The program has also provided emergency heat restoration services to an additional 160 homes through the Colorado Department of Human Services since last year.
Saving on Utility Costs
Research from the U.S. Energy Information Administration demonstrates that residents can save an annual average of $437 in utility bills by taking simple steps to improving their homes’ systems, such as ensuring adequate insulation and sealing, and installing high-efficiency appliances. Tips to help residents save on their monthly utility bills are available at http://veteransgreenjobs.org/weatherization/energy-saving-tips.
How to Qualify
Residents who are already receiving financial assistance under other programs may qualify for free weatherization upgrades. Those programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and Supplemental Security Income. Eligibility can also be determined by household income, including households making up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Priority service may also be given to persons who are considered elderly, disabled, low-income or single parents, as well as clients whose homes are considered to bear high energy costs or a high energy burden. To learn more and to sign up, San Luis residents are asked to visit http://veteransgreenjobs.org/san-luis-valley-weatherization or call (719) 587-9492.
Stimulus Funding Leads to Jobs
According to Governor Bill Ritter, dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also help create jobs. At a recent publicity event celebrating National Energy Awareness Month, Governor Ritter said, “When the president signed the Recovery Act, there was an important emphasis on economic recovery through job creation in the New Energy Economy. Weatherization and energy efficiency are a big part of that.
Our Governor’s Energy Office has directed federal Recovery Act dollars into weatherization work that has created and sustained jobs statewide, including jobs for military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in need of a career path with stability and sustainability.
We contract with Veterans Green Jobs to provide those services in the San Luis Valley, where unemployment rates are higher. For veterans who are returning to the San Luis Valley, there is an opportunity for them to help their neighbors by providing these beneficial services.”
Statewide the Governor’s Energy Office weatherization program has sustained about 250 jobs and created an additional 150 jobs, thanks to these federal dollars. The Veterans Green Jobs San Luis Weatherization Services program has created 26 jobs, eight of which are held by military veterans.