Home Energy Efficiency in Denver
Hot, dry summers followed by cold, snowy winters in the Denver area means homeowners need to create energy-efficient homes in order to enjoy a comfortable and affordable living space throughout the year. And since heating and cooling costs are such a big part of home energy costs, Colorado residents have their work cut out for them.
Making Your Home Comfortable and Efficient
Here are some things to consider if you're working to make your home more energy efficient.
- The average high in July is 88 degrees with January lows dropping into the teens. Extreme temperatures like these make energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, and proper insulation a must if you're going to keep your utility bills affordable.
- Colorado is home to some of the largest natural gas fields in the U.S., which is one reason why natural gas prices from utilities such as Colorado Natural Gas is relatively cheap at $7.95 per thousand cubic feet, about $3 less than the national average.
- Xcel Energy charges around $0.10 per kilowatt-hour for electricity in the Denver area, which is average for the United States.
- More than 68 percent of the homes in Colorado were built before 1980, which means there is a lot of easy energy and money savings available to many homeowners in the Denver area.
- Denver has nice solar and wind energy potential with average daily solar radiation at around 5.5 kWh per meter squared and annual average wind speeds of 8.8 mph.
Home Energy Audits in Denver
Energy audits are a great first step toward an energy-efficient home. An energy auditor is trained to comprehensively test your home as a system to figure out which areas are performing poorly and need an energy efficiency retrofit.
Energy audits in the Denver area typically cost a few hundred dollars, but Colorado is offering rebates of up to $100 for homeowners get their homes audited through the Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Homeowners who follow through with the recommendations their auditors make save $2,700 on average in the first three years after the measures are complete.
If you'd like to find out — for free and within minutes — whether your home is a good candidate for an energy audit and for upgrades, take our online home energy report. We'll give you a home energy report and estimate your savings potential.
Home Energy Upgrades in Denver
Here a few upgrades your auditor may recommend.
- Tankless Water Heater: A tankless water heater allows you to heat your water when you need it rather than keeping a storage tank of water heated day and night, which is an expensive way to heat water.
- Duct Sealing/Insulation: By closing up the leaky areas in your duct work and wrapping it with insulation, you can make your duct work significantly more efficient, which will allow your heater to work a little less hard. Not only will your home be more comfortable, but you'll save a lot of money on heating and cooling bills.
- Attic Insulation: In a climate like Denver's, properly insulated attics, walls and crawl spaces are an important part of home energy efficiency. It helps you keep air that you've paid to heat and cool inside your home and unwanted hot and cold outside air from seeping in. ENERGY STAR recommends adding R38 to R49 rated insulation to attics with only a few inches of insulation and R25 to R30 rated insulation to floors with little or no insulation.
- ENERGY STAR Appliances: Energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers, dryers, dishwashers and other appliances will help you cut down your electricity bills and even help you save water in some cases.
- Wind Energy Systems: If your home has passed an energy audit with flying colors and you're ready for the next step, you may want to consider wind turbines or solar panels to generate power for your home. Not only will this save you a lot of money on utility bills, but it will also make you more energy independent, which means you'll be protected from rising energy prices for years to come.
Have a project in mind? Contact an energy expert to get started.
Energy Rebates and Tax Credits in Denver
Home Efficiency Upgrades: There are plenty of opportunities to make home energy efficiency upgrades more affordable by taking advantage of rebates on clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, furnaces, boilers, insulation, duct sealing, thermostats and air sealing offered by Xcel Energy, SourceGas, Colorado Natural Gas and Colorado programs including Insulate Colorado and the Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Additionally, the federal government offers a Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of energy efficiency upgrades such insulation and HVAC replacements for up to $1,500.
Renewable Energy Systems: Rebates are available on solar hot water heaters, solar panels and wind energy systems from Xcel Energy and Colorado's Residential Renewable Energy Rebate Program. Renewable energy systems are also eligible for a federal Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit equal to 30 percent of the system costs with no upper limit.
Check out all energy rebates and tax credits in Denver.
Home Energy Resources from EnergySavvy
- Home Energy Report: How efficient is your home? Find out how to improve your home's efficiency and comfort, without spending tons of money, with EnergySavvy's free online home energy report.
- Energy Rebate and Tax Credit Directory: EnergySavvy's guide to energy rebates and tax credits can help you find all the energy tax credits and rebates that are available locally for you.
- Energy Contractors: If you've got a project in mind to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable and you'd like to talk with an energy expert about it, we can help. We focus on the relatively small group of contractors nationwide who really understand home energy auditing and energy retrofits.
- Educational Content: Home energy efficiency is complicated stuff. It's not just as simple as laying some insulation in the attic. We've put together a library of easy-to-read topics that cover the basics of energy efficiency. And if you have a question about anything, you can ask one of our energy experts using our "Ask an Expert" feature.
Last Updated: June 2010
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