Energy Resource Center reduces the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by increasing energy efficiency. Our work includes upgraded furnaces, insulation, weather-stripping, air sealing, and we can sometimes add solar panels.
More efficient homes mean the demand on coal-fired power plants is reduced and fewer resources are needed to run those plants.
Donations made to ERC through the Carbon Cut Colorado program go directly to funding home energy efficiency projects, which are done for free for income-qualified households.
Simply put: We take your carbon use and turn it into work that reduces overall carbon emissions.
You input your carbon usage into a Carbon Cut Colorado calculator and that usage is translated into a dollar amount which you donate to ERC. The funds you donate are used to increase the energy efficiency of a home for a family who otherwise couldn’t afford the upgrades needed.
By focusing on homes that qualify through strict income-based guidelines we are able to focus on improvements that wouldn’t otherwise be done.
Every donation you make balances your carbon impact by cutting carbon elsewhere.
People in our community are deciding between heating their home or buying groceries, between paying a utility bill or getting medications, and between turning up the thermostat or buying school supplies. ERC’s work helps income-qualified families reduce their energy bills, making it easier to afford their homes. It also frees up budgets for other life necessities.
Combined, we save families about $300,000 a year which turns into a savings of over $6 million during the life of the equipment we install.
In addition to financial savings (which are a huge impact!), we also perform a wide range of safety measures for every home. By the time our work is done, a family saves money on their utility bills, is able to afford other necessities, plus they are safer and healthier.
We use the same formulas that verified carbon offset organizations use to calculate a dollar amount based on carbon impact. We worked closely with Carbon Fund to figure out how to make these calculations.
Each of the formulas below comes from trusted and often-referenced sources. Links are included if you want to dive into the details.
Here are the formulas we use, and their sources:
– Average for gas = # miles / 25 * 8.78/1000 = MTs CO2
– Average for EV and/or hybrid = # miles / 40 * 8.78/1000 = MTs CO2
Carbon emissions factor source (Table 2 – Motor Gasoline)
– Average per economy seat = # miles * 0.2 /1000 = MTs CO2
– Average per first-class seat = # miles * 0.5 /1000 = MTs CO2
Carbon emissions factor source (averaged factor for international air travel)
KWH (Kilowatt Hours – Electric)
CCF (Hundred Cubic Feet – Gas)
– Electricity from eGRID for Colorado = # kWhs * 0.5815/1000 = MTs CO2
– Natural Gas = # CCF * 5.31/1000 = MTs CO2
Carbon emissions factor sources:
Electricity for RMPA (Colorado)
Income qualifications for free energy efficiency work start at 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. There are some automatic qualifiers. For example, if you qualify for the income-qualified Energy Assistance Program – LEAP – or Supplemental Security Income, you automatically qualify for free assistance from The Energy Resource Center. Other automatic qualifiers include: SNAP, TANF.
Find out more about qualifying, and get application materials here:
We have been working with the Colorado Energy Office and local utility companies for over 30 years. Both of these entities keep meticulous records of the work performed across the state and in their service regions. Each year, updated calculations are provided to ERC.
These calculations are possible because our funders audit the work. We submit information about the specific equipment and materials used on a home and show how these changes will positively impact the homeowner or resident over the lifetime of the measures installed.
Additionally, each furnace, hot water heater, refrigerator or light bulb replaced, has an energy efficiency rating that compares to the new equipment, which offers accurate numbers to relay to you.
In short, no. We do not deal in verified or certified carbon credits. Our carbon reduction work is completed by our crews, covering 27 counties in Colorado, from four offices across the state. The efforts are verified by several entities that track our work, including the Colorado Energy Office.
The VCS program administered by Verra, a 501c3 not-for-profit, is a standardization for carbon offsets. It “provides a credible but simple set of criteria that will provide integrity to the voluntary carbon market.” Carbon Footprint VCS.
When starting this program, we spent significant time researching and considering the application for certification. However, as a non-profit, the $70,000 approximate price tag for our certification is currently out of reach. Our funds are earmarked for helping families in our region needing it most. Most of that funding is dedicated through state contracts or foundation grants that cannot be used for work outside of direct energy efficiency upgrades for income-qualified families.
We are dedicated to being transparent and providing the most accurate data possible regarding our carbon reduction practices and what all donors can expect from their funds. Our programs fit squarely into the VCS framework of being “real, quantifiable, additional and permanent project-based emission reductions.”
You can find out more about VCS certification here.