Youth service group joins in effort to promote energy efficiency

A team of 11 participants in a national youth service program has joined in efforts to promote energy efficiency in Grand Valley businesses and homes.

The team from the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) will help promote two energy efficiency programs — the GreenBacks program offered through local chambers of commerce and the Red Door Challenge offered through the Grand Valley Energy Alliance.

The team will introduce energy efficiency services to business owners as well as canvas neighborhoods and talk to residents at farmers’ markets in Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade. The group also plans to organize public information events at which residents can gather to learn more and ask questions.

“We are so excited to have the AmeriCorps team here to launch the Red Door challenge and assist with the GreenBacks program,” said Kathy Portner, neighborhood services manager for the City of Grand Junction, one of the sponsors of the project. “The work that this enthusiastic team is doing will be invaluable to our local efforts to be more energy efficient.”

The GreenBacks program offers incentives and recognition to businesses that join in efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their operations.

The Red Door Challenge offers residents an opportunity to sign up for home energy audits. The audits, valued between $300 and $450, are offered at reduced prices through rebates and stimulus funding. For qualifying low-income families, the audits could be free.

The audits point out ways in which homeowners can improve insulation, sealing and ventilation as well as install better lighting and windows to decrease utility bills while increasing comfort.

Meredith Mook, a member of the AmeriCorps NCCC team in Grand Junction, said she’s excited to participate in the project. “I’m really excited to not only help this community ‘go green,’ but to also apply the energy tips we learn to my future home and spread the word to my family and friends.”

The team expects to complete the Grand Valley project, the last of its 10-month term, on July 21.

Participants in the AmeriCorps NCCC program age 18 to 24 serve 10-month terms working on projects that involve energy conservation, environmental stewardship, disaster relief and urban and rural development. In addition to room and board and a small living stipend, participants receive $5,500 to help pay for college or student loans.