Community Agriculture Aliance: Take the diet challenge

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How many of you have gone on a diet hoping to shed a few pounds? Have you ever thought about shedding a few kilowatts? How about going on an energy diet?

Yampa Valley Data Partners invites you to take the plunge, saving money and energy by taking the Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge. This month you will see a rollout of the energy diet challenge checklist tool developed by the steering committee of the Northwest Colorado Energy Education Plan. The checklist is a tool to help you modify your home and your behavior to save money on energy bills and save on energy usage.

Post the checklist on your refrigerator (the checklist has a magnet) and check off items you have completed from three levels of action items: Nice and Easy, Intermediate and Advanced. The Nice and Easy, or “do it right away,” items are actions like turning off lights when not in use, lowering your hot water temperature to 120 degrees and weatherstripping your exterior doors and windows. These are simple actions that will make a difference in the comfort of your home and the amount you spend on energy. The diet challenge for the Nice and Easy section is to complete 10 of the 13 items within a year.

The Intermediate, or “do it next week,” section contains action items such as drying your laundry on a line, installing low-flow showerheads and toilets, and installing a programmable thermostat. These are action items that take a bit more time or money to implement. We challenge homeowners to complete five out of the nine actions.

The Advanced, or “it takes a little longer,” section challenges us to complete three out of eight actions such as improving the insulation in the attic or basement, seal and insulate all air ducts and buy an EnergyStar appliance.

The checklist comes with a section for the homeowner to track their energy usage by month starting with last year, recording this year and next year. Send Yampa Valley Data Partners your results and we’ll post them on our website. Send your stories, too.

Wondering how to do some of the projects? There are seven website resources listed on the back of the checklist to direct homeowners to information on how to implement the action items. Plus, you always can visit checklist co-sponsor Yampa Valley Electric Association’s website at www.yvea.com for great additional energy-saving tips.

The checklists are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library, Hayden Public Library, city and town halls and at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. You also can download a PDF of the checklist at www.yampavlleydatapartners.com. The Energy Diet Challenge also is for Moffat and Rio Blanco county residents, so the competition could be tough. Pick up your checklist and get started today. How much can you lose?

Kate Nowak is the executive director of Yampa Valley Data Partners. YVDP implemented a two-year Energy Education grant through the Colorado Energy Office.

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