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CO Floods Create Opportunity to Increase Energy Efficiency

Photo: Thousands of homes are damaged or destroyed in parts of Colorado from the floods. Courtesy: Patrick Walsh
Photo: Thousands of homes are damaged or destroyed in parts of Colorado from the floods. Courtesy: Patrick Walsh
September 23, 2013

BOULDER, Colo. - As Coloradans continue working to clean up and repair the damage caused by extreme flooding in parts of the state, there is an opportunity for them to take advantage of tax incentives and energy savings when they replace damaged appliances and HVAC units.

According to Luke Ilderton, director of energy efficiency for Energy Outreach Colorado, 120 nonprofit partner agencies are encouraging people to consider Energy Star-rated appliances when they do replace household items. That could save money in the long run.

"It's a great opportunity to go ahead and make that jump into a more efficient system that would save energy for the homeowner down the road - even though that might be difficult, given the level of stress they might be under."

Ilderton said an energy-efficient refrigerator can save about $75 a year and a rated dishwasher saves about $50. There is a 10 percent federal tax rebate on efficient water heaters and HVAC units until the end of this year.

Energy Outreach Colorado is an independent nonprofit that raises money to help limited-income Coloradans afford home energy. That organization and its partner agencies also are on the ground, helping low-income people in the flood-damaged communities with funds to pay their utility bills while they get back on their feet, Ilderton said.

"I know that the agencies in those areas right now are working extremely hard and have been inundated with people who are just looking for some assistance in terms of what to do next," he said.

Since its beginning, Energy Outreach Colorado has raised more than $189 million to fund energy bill payment assistance, emergency home furnace repair and energy upgrades for affordable housing and nonprofit facilities. Last year, 118,000 low-income households received assistance to pay their heating bills.

There is a toll-free number, 1-866-HEAT-HELP, for people to apply for energy assistance or donate to help others.

More information is available at at

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO