Program developed to make affordable homes more efficient

Addressing both housing affordability and climate issues

[ by Mark Reaman ]

Starting in February, owners of deed-restricted homes in Crested Butte will be able to apply to receive a heavily subsidized energy assessment and energy efficiency upgrade for their houses. This should help lower living costs and make residing in Crested Butte more affordable for those in deed-restricted homes.

The town and Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority, through its GV-HEAT program, are forming a partnership to help pick up most of the cost, making deed-restricted houses more efficient, affordable and safe.

The Crested Butte Town Council on Monday, January 4, agreed to contribute $30,000 toward what is being called the GreenDeed program. That is expected to be the amount allocated annually for the next five years and address approximately seven structures per year.

In a memo to the town council, Crested Butte planner Mel Yemma said the program addresses council goals in both the climate action plan and the affordable housing initiatives. The subsidies will be available for current deed-restricted homes in town and to those that might eventually participate in a future InDeed program, where owners of free market homes agree to put a deed restriction on their property for a negotiated price.

“Annually, the GreenDeed program will cover assessment costs and full energy efficiency upgrades for up to seven deed- restricted homes within the town of Crested Butte, on a first-come, first-served basis,” Yemma’s memo explains.

She estimated that while the initial assessment would cost about $350, the upgrades could cost in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Homeowners would have to supply a $50 application fee to encourage buy-in and establish commitment, but other costs of the upgrades up to $5,000 would be handled by the town program.

GV-HEAT has committed to provide a $1,000 matching contribution to each home (up to seven homes) as part of their annual funding award from the Gunnison County Electric Association and Tri-State Energy.

“Overall, this program is a great opportunity to make significant headway on increasing energy efficiency in our existing building stock, while simultaneously making participating homes more comfortable and less expensive,” Yemma said. It is estimated that through the program a home could achieve a 10 percent to 20 percent energy use improvement.

The program will start this year with homes inside Crested Butte but the hope is to expand the program regionally. The town of Crested Butte will begin accepting applications on February 1.

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