The Douglas County Housing Partnership received a grant to help residents of its senior housing complex lower their energy bills, just in time for …
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The Douglas County Housing Partnership received a grant to help
residents of its senior housing complex lower their energy bills,
just in time for winter.
The grant came through Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Energy Office
and resulted in improvements from new furnaces and hot water
heaters to insulation and sump pumps at the Oakwood Apartments in
Castle Rock. The Oakwood apartment complex is a low-income housing
facility for seniors, those living with disabilities and other
qualified low-income residents, said Bonnie Osborn, executive
director of the Douglas County Housing Partnership.
Osborn submitted the grant application in a process that took
several months and included a requirement to collect 24 months
worth of individual utility bills from two utility companies for 64
residential units, with the written permission of each tenant.
“It seemed like it took forever but it’s worth it now that we
know we’re getting it done,” Osborn said. “But at the time I said
if we don’t get this I’m never applying again.”
With the work that comes courtesy of the nonprofit Energy
Resource Center in Colorado Springs, Osborn’s effort could be worth
as much as $500,000 in improvements at Oakwood. Energy Resource
Center works with the governor’s office to complete energy
conservation work across the state, said Howard Brooks, director or
Energy Resource Center.
Brooks’ office cannot provide the final value of the project
until the work is complete, he said. By Oct. 20, Brooks’ workforce
replaced most of the furnaces at Oakwood, upgrading furnaces from
80 percent efficient units installed in the 1980s with higher
efficiency units in nearly every apartment. Several hot water
heaters were replaced and some residents received new
The company installed new blow-in insulation and all attic
spaces got added insulation protection, Brooks said.
The sump pumps underneath the apartment buildings proved the
most difficult part of the project, when mold was discovered
underneath a few of the building crawl spaces. Oakwood comprises
eight apartment buildings, about three of which had mold present in
the crawl spaces, Brooks said.
When mold is discovered, Energy Resource Center conducts visual
tests but does not conduct air quality tests, Brooks said. No sign
of mold was discovered on visual inspection of the apartment units,
“Every home that has any sort of crawl space and water issue
will have some mold,” Brooks said. “The sump pumps are all fixed
and the water is drying up. With no water the mold will die, there
is no need to do any other remediation efforts.”
Standing water under the buildings caused the mold and the grant
helped replace wet insulation discovered under the floors of the
units, Brooks said. By the end of the project, new insulation was
in place, the new sump pumps were working and the standing water
was disappearing, he said.
“We’re real excited to be doing this project,” Brooks said. “We
expect residents there are going to be a lot warmer and a lot safer
and they’re going to be saving on their energy bill.”
The Governor’s Energy Grant is among several that the Douglas
County Housing Partnership uses to aid county residents. Among the
services offered through the partnership are down payment
assistance, equity programs and foreclosure counseling, Osborn
said. The down payment assistance and equity programs are for
qualified first-time buyers and, since 2005, have resulted in about
$2.8 million in loans for county residents.
When the loans are repaid, the money goes back into the loan
program and gets routed to the next qualified applicant, a process
that continually funnels the grant money back to county residents,
For more information visit the partnership at
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