“A smoke detector saved my family members’ lives.” – Eric Lopez of Denver
During the cold winter months, Eric Lopez was accustomed to covering his windows with blankets, wearing sweat suits to bed and turning his space heaters to the highest setting. His monthly heating bills had often skyrocketed upwards of $200.
As an unemployed, single father, Eric had a hard time paying the bills. He knew that upgrading his home’s heating and cooling systems would lower costs and make his family more safe and comfortable, but he couldn’t afford to make the improvements.
When Veterans Green Jobs came to Eric’s home to provide free weatherization services, he benefited from a comprehensive energy audit, furnace replacement, a smoke/carbon monoxide detector, and an A+ final inspection. These services would later save the lives of his family members.
Eric, a veteran of the U.S. Marines himself, couldn’t have been more excited about the upgrades to his home – especially the replacement of his 1976, 60-percent-efficient furnace with an energy efficient one. It would use a fraction of the kilowatt hours. And, he added, “By educating myself and cutting way back on my energy usage all around the house, my monthly bills have dropped from more than $200 to $60.”
But Eric’s luck turned on him in late 2011 when a fire struck his home while he was away at work. The fire destroyed the house. Fortunately, because of the smoke and carbon monoxide detector that had been installed, the three generations of family members who were inside the house during the fire – including Eric’s autistic teenage son – were alerted in time to escape safely.
“The smoke detector was directly responsible for my family getting out of the house,” Eric says now. “My life got turned upside down – but fortunately, nobody died. I am very grateful.”
Despite the challenges he has faced, Eric has been inspired by his experience to rebuild his home – this time, with all the perks. “It’s going to be completely green and energy efficient,” he says, with an eye toward a safe and comfortable future for his family.
Veterans Green Jobs provides comprehensive home performance services to income-qualified homes, with funding from the Colorado Energy Office and the City and County of Denver’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, and through collaborative efforts of the Denver Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. These services make homes greener, healthier and safer while reducing the burden of high energy costs. Application for Free Home Performance Services /Solicitud de trabajos de climatización