CASE STUDY

CLOTILDE GALLEGOS, LEADVILLE

We met Mrs. Gallegos at the Senior Center where the Great Grandmother serves meals to her fellow senior citizens.

Mrs. Gallegos was worried that her natural gas bills seemed high and noticed that her windows tended to frost over particularly where some storm windows were missing.

Her Xcel Energy statement indicated she was using more energy than efficient neighbors, which prompted her into action.

Assessment Process & Findings

Cloud City Conservation Center (C4) enrolled her in Energy Outreach Colorado’s income-qualified CARE program.

C4’s BPI-certified Building Analyst Cameron Millard completed the energy assessment for Mrs. Gallegos and helped her understand the likely sources of increased energy use as well as some safety issues. These included the following findings:

  • The attic was under-insulated for Leadville’s cold climate with R15 fiberglass at best.
  • Five of her home’s storm windows were missing or broken.
  • Air leakage was high at 86% air changes per hour.
  • The furnace had an improperly vented pipe that resulted in back-drafting of the furnaces and some carbon monoxide entering the home.
  • The majority of the lighting were incandescent light bulbs and the refrigerator was over 20 years old.

Efficiency Improvements

Blown cellulose was added to improve the attic insulation from R15 to R60.  The attic floor and various other leaks were air sealed resulting in a 16% reduction in air leakage. Storm windows were installed on five windows and a programmable thermostat replaced a mercury dial. Additionally, electricity saving measures included a new refrigerator and 12 LED lightbulbs. Finally, the furnace was cleaned and tuned, and the venting issue was corrected by a qualified HVAC technician.

The insulation and air sealing work was performed by Deeper Green Consulting and NWCCOG provided the storm windows.

Program Costs

Mrs. Gallegos qualified for Energy Outreach Colorado’s income-qualified program which allowed the majority of her energy improvement costs to be covered by the CARE program. Additionally, Cloud City Conservation Center leveraged funds from Lake County Community Fund to hire a HVAC technician to correct the furnace venting.

MEASURES TAKEN

  • LED light bulbs installed
  • 5 storm windows installed
  • Furnace cleaned and tuned
  • Air sealing throughout home
  • Programmable thermostat installed
  • Additional insulation blown into attic
  • Replaced refrigerator with ENERGY STAR model

PROGRAM BENEFITS

The energy improvements resulted in annual utility savings of $330 for Mrs. Gallegos.

Shortly after the efficiency measures were completed, Xcel Energy sent a notification stating that Mrs. Gallegos was using 48% less energy than she had used during the same billing period the previous year, and that she was using 26% less energy than her efficient neighbors.

“After the insulation was added, I felt too hot in my house and had to turn down the thermostat! 

I noticed that this year there are a lot fewer icicles hanging off the roof and it’s been easier to clear the snow off the roof. 

Everyone who came to work on the house was really great.”

— Clotilde Gallegos, Leadville