Mt. Crested Butte ready to fund energy efficiency program

Lots of 40-year-old condos in Mt. Crested Butte could use some help

by Mark Reaman

The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council committed $5,000 toward an energy efficiency assistance program run under the umbrella of the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority.

Emily Artale of Lotus Engineering and Sustainability is running the program that has the goal of reducing energy costs for low- and middle-income households throughout Gunnison County. The idea is that the program can make housing costs more affordable and improve the quality of substandard housing while helping the town and government entities in the area achieve their energy and climate goals.

Artale said 1,700 homes in the county have been identified as substandard in the recent housing needs assessment survey. While most are in Gunnison, units in Mt. Crested Butte were second on the list, followed by homes in Crested Butte. Ultimately, the goal is to find state and national funding to help assess 150 homes per year and retrofit up to half of the structures that were assessed.

“We are still pretty early in the process and seeking funding for the program,” Artale told the council at the August 15 council meeting. She said the county had committed $5,000, the Gunnison Congregation Church was in for $1,000 and Energy Smart Colorado had pledged $35,000, contingent upon a $17,500 match over the next 18 months. “We are looking for money for the match and would appreciate $5,000 from the town,” said Artale.

Artale said the substandard housing is located throughout the county. Mayor Todd Barnes said he was not surprised some of it was located in Mt. Crested Butte since many of the condominiums in town were built 40 years ago.

GVRHA executive director Jennifer Kermode said once the program is up and running the hope is that those living in the substandard housing who wish to upgrade their energy efficiency will seek out this program for assistance.

“We haven’t started a major outreach effort yet,” said Artale. “Until we get the financing lined up we don’t know what sort of timeline we are on. Ultimately we will track results and use local contractors and we want people to have a good experience and see results.”

“I have no doubt there are people in Mt. Crested Butte who will apply to participate in the program if they hear about the program,” said Barnes.

The rest of the Town Council was also in support of the program. Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said he would include the $5,000 request in the 2018 budget that the council will consider this fall.

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