CASE STUDY

DOTSERO MOBILE HOME PARK

Comprised of about 80 mobile homes, Dotsero mobile home park has historically been fueled by propane gas. This adds up to steep bills for its residents and presents major risks of carbon monoxide, gas leaks and combustion from appliances that are often in disrepair. Wood-burning stoves and dangerous space heaters are often used to heat these homes when furnaces fail.

Developing A Beneficial Electrification Program

Energy analysts observe that over half of the manufactured homes they visit have health or life safety issues related to propane or natural gas lines and appliances. To address these concerns, Eagle County Government formed a partnership with Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) to improve the comfort and safety of mobile home residents while tackling climate change.

With funding from Eagle County, Colorado Energy Office, Holy Cross Energy, and the Energy Smart program at Walking Mountains Science Center, NWCCOG is transitioning Dotsero mobile homes from propane to electric heating and cooking. As several residents qualify for federal assistance, the Weatherization Assistance Program provides initial investments in the homes to reduce energy costs through weatherization improvements.

Following the weatherization improvements, NWCCOG replaces old propane furnaces with cold climate air source heat pumps, converts propane water heaters to electric heat pump water heaters, and updates propane ranges to high efficiency electric induction cooktops. This transition to a fully electric home━known as beneficial electrification━reduces energy use significantly, improves health and safety, and enhances an occupant’s quality of life. These improvements are especially important for Colorado’s low-income residents who spend a large portion of household income on energy costs and are at high risk for health and safety concerns from outdated propane appliances.

Program Benefits

By July 2022, 20 families will be living in a safe, efficient and comfortable home that no longer uses carbon-based propane and eliminates the possibility of gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning. Through the Beneficial Electrification for Eagle County Housing program,

  • Households are saving an average of $110 per month in utility bills
  • $60 per month in propane costs are eliminated for each resident
  • Each home’s greenhouse gas emissions is reduced by an estimated 6.4 tons per year
  • Upgraded electrical service eliminates existing fire hazards
  • Propane leaks disappear and carbon monoxide-producing ovens and hazardous space heaters are removed
  • Ventilation and indoor air quality is improved

WEATHERIZATION IMPROVEMENTS

Prior to electrifying any home, basic weatherization improvements are critical. An energy assessment identifies the opportunities to increase each home’s energy efficiency. In the Dotsero mobile homes, the following measures are improving occupant comfort and efficiency:

  • Crawlspace encapsulation
  • Air and duct sealing
  • Insulation improved
  • Refrigerators replaced
  • LED light bulbs installed
  • Bathroom exhaust fans mounted
  • Windows replaced and storm windows installed

ELECTRIFICATION IMPROVEMENTS

Electrifying a home often requires upgrades to the electrical panel to manage the electric load of the new appliances. Once the weatherization improvements were made, electrical upgrades allowed the installation of

  • A cold climate air source heat pump
  • A hybrid heat pump hot water heater
  • An induction cooktop/range and ASHRAE range hood

These efficient appliances eliminated the need for expensive fossil fuel to heat the home and the propane lines and tanks were removed entirely from the mobile homes, reducing the homeowner’s monthly utility expenses.

““This local partnership has inspired and driven us to make more of a difference than ever before━we are now adding reducing greenhouse gas emissions to our portfolio of services. With CEO’s support and guidance, we are now installing cold climate heat pumps, and thanks to our local collaboration with Eagle County, Walking Mountains Science Center and Holy Cross Energy, we are taking it a step further with a full beneficial electrification package.”

– Doug Jones, Energy Program Director at Northwest Colorado Council of Governments