Talking Green: Save on energy bills, reduce footprint in 2020 |

Talking Green: Save on energy bills, reduce footprint in 2020

Suzie Romig
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Energy analyst Cameron Millard assesses damaged insulation in a home attic.
Energy Smart Colorado/courtesy

Saving on home energy bills is not as difficult as you might think. Based on Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s energy efficiency work with local clients, implementing a targeted list of modest measures in your home can lower your energy bills by $25, $35 or more per month. 

The Energy Program at nonprofit Yampa Valley Sustainability Council helps local households identify those key energy efficiency steps. And, for income-qualified households that earn less than 80% of area median income, the Sustainability Council promotes grant-funded programs, such as Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy and Jump Start, which can complete energy-efficiency measures in participating homes for free.

Some clients living in drafty mobile homes have reported monthly energy bills were cut in half following robust air sealing and efficiency work. This year, the council is administering Environmental Protection Agency grant funding to provide income-qualified households in Routt and Moffat counties with a Jump Start, including a home energy assessment and a healthy home evaluation.

The healthy home evaluation includes an in-home review by a trained analyst of seven key areas: moisture, contaminants, pests, ventilation, common dangers, maintenance and cleanliness that hampers indoor air quality. This Jump Start program adds the installation of safety-oriented quick fixes such as bathroom grab bars.

Across the Yampa Valley, free home energy assessments are available to all income levels of households while funds last this year thanks to funding by the city of Steamboat Springs, the Energy Hero rebate program at Yampa Valley Electric Association and the town of Oak Creek.

Some steps commonly recommended by local energy analysts include updating a home to efficient LED bulbs, installing a programmable thermostat, air sealing around windows and doors, insulating attic and crawl space hatches appropriately, using insulated blinds wisely, stopping phantom electrical loads and adding attic insulation. 

Last month during talks in Steamboat, Utah State University physics professor and climate change communicator Rob Davies, Ph.D., noted that all Americans should commit to reducing their carbon emissions and impact on the Earth by 15% each year. 

“If everyone on our planet consumed like Americans, we would need four to five planets to sustain ourselves,” Davies noted.

The professor recommended 15% annual reductions in areas such as energy use, driving and flying, purchase of nonessential products and eating of highly processed foods.

Having a home energy assessment is a good step toward your personal energy reduction goal in 2020. Request an assessment at or for questions on the income-qualified household options, email

Suzie Romig is the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council energy outreach director.

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