Residents, businesses get smart about energy

Sara Van Cleve

A new program is helping residents get smart about saving energy and money.

“Resource Smart Arvada is an all-encompassing energy efficiency program for residents and business owners,” said Jessica Prosser, Arvada’s sustainability coordinator. “It takes it full circle from the initial assessment of the building all the way through to quality control at the end.”

The program is guaranteeing energy savings of at least 20-30 percent after the work is complete, Prosser said.

After a resident or business owner signs up for the program, a Resource Smart Arvada assessor makes an assessment of the home, finding areas in which they could save energy and money on their utility bill.

The assessor gives the resident or business owner a comprehensive report and the participant choose what improvements to make and then the assessor gets bids for the work from at least three local contractors.

Once a contractor is chosen, the work begins and is monitored by Resource Smart Arvada representatives. Once it is complete, an assessor will evaluate the work before payment is due.

“If you don’t have the money upfront, we have low and no interest financing available,” Prosser said. “We also have financing for low-income families and nonprofits.”

The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology, a nonprofit located in Lakewood, is running the program for the city and monitors all of the work.

The process, from assessment to completion, can take anywhere from a month to a couple months, depending on the size of the building and the amount of retrofitting it needs, Prosser said.

“The most common (improvements) for residential would probably be adding more insulation in the attic and walls and sealing all windows and doors,” Prosser said. “Those are the most effective measures to take when it comes to saving energy.”

Changing outdated and energy inefficient lighting is usually the first step for commercial buildings.

The program has already completed its pilot phase, retrofitting several homes and businesses in Arvada.

Nancy Voiland was one of the first residents to complete to program.

“It was fun to ask questions about my home and watch and learn what was being done and why,” Voiland said in a statement provided by the city. “I am happy that I had the assessment and would recommend it to anyone. It gave me a chance to find out where home improvement can and should be while allowing me to budget my finances and include these improvements in the future.”

For more information about Resource Smart Arvada and to sign up for an assessment, or call 1-866-590-4377.

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