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CO Nonprofits Celebrate Earth Day, Efficiency, Lower Energy Bills

April 22, 2010

GREELEY, Colo. - This Earth Day, many Colorado nonprofits that help those in need are celebrating. They've been able to 'go green' through a special program that helps them save money at the same time. The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP, a partnership between Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) and other funders, including Xcel Energy and the City and County of Denver, makes big improvements for facilities across the state.

Heather Gullen manages the program for EOC, and says NEEP has provided upgrades to 65 facilities in Colorado since 2007.

"That could include a new boiler, it could include insulation, caulking, it could include new windows. We upgrade all their lighting, typically."

One facility that received an energy audit and efficiency upgrades from the NEEP program is the Greeley Transitional House, which provides homeless families with housing, food assistance and case management. Director Jodi Hartmann says the numerous improvements included tankless water heaters that nearly cut their gas bill in half.

"Serving about 100 families a year, you can imagine that there is a substantial use of gas and water heat."

Hartmann says the reduced energy costs from the upgrades have helped their organization survive the economic downturn.

"In an era when funding has been very dicey for nonprofits, it's just another way for us to continue to operate and provide these services."

She says the program has made a total of $1.33 million in energy efficiency improvements, saving almost $200,000 in energy costs per year, as well as almost one million kilowatt hours of electricity and over 150,000 natural gas therms, resulting in a reduction of more than two million pounds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

More information is available at www.energyoutreach.org.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO