“I am sure I’ll see a difference on my bills.” – Virginia Hughes
Virginia Hughes gets a lot of help around the house from her grandson, who takes care to maintain the home’s systems and make sure everything is in working order. And he passes along tips and resources he hears about, encouraging her to take advantage. That’s what he did when he heard from a friend about Veterans Green Jobs’ free services to weatherize homes.
“My husband just passed away, and we needed to do a lot of work. When I heard about this program, I checked to see if I would qualify. Sure enough, I did,” says Virginia, age 91.
The 1969 ranch-style home in Lakewood had an original furnace that was not working efficiently. “I knew it was going to stop on some cold, snowy day and no one would be able to get here to fix it for a week. That idea was nerve-wracking. It would have been expensive in an emergency,” she says.
Veterans Green Jobs replaced the old furnace with a new, 92 percent efficiency system, which Virginia is sure will help lower her heating bills. She estimates she pays on average $200-$300 per month in the winter. “That is a lot of money when it shouldn’t be. I am sure I’ll see a difference on my bills.”
In addition to upgrading the furnace, Veterans Green Jobs replaced a broken window pane with a plexiglass pane; installed a sweep on the front door to keep cold air out; and insulated the walls in the laundry room, the kitchen, the store room, the furnace room, and the ceiling of the garage, which is just beneath the master bedroom. The crew also hard-piped the clothes dryer for moisture control, installed an electrical outlet in the furnace room, provided CFL lightbulbs, and installed four smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Virginia says she has no idea how much these services would have cost if she had hired a firm to make the improvements for a fee. But her grandson and his wife researched it. “We estimate it would have cost her five to six thousand dollars – easily,” he says.
Both grandmother and grandson agree that these services will be worth it – for the financial benefits and the higher level of comfort.
“A lot of people don’t like the government doing so much for people. But on the other hand, it’s pretty great when you need the help. I appreciate it. It doesn’t seem like enough people know about it.”
Veterans Green Jobs provides comprehensive home performance services to income-qualified homes, with funding from the Colorado Energy Office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Supplemental Environmental Project. These services make homes greener, healthier and safer while reducing the burden of high energy costs.