Urban Land Conservancy celebrates the achievements of our partnerships that create and preserve nonprofit facilities and affordable housing for communities.
ULC’s Monthly Partner Spotlight shines a light on partners who demonstrate the value of collaboration, furthering our mission to improve the lives of Metro Denver residents and beyond through our real estate investments and community assets.
Congratulations to our May 2021 Partner Spotlight of the Month: Energy Outreach Colorado
Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) leads a network of industry, state, and local partners to support, stabilize, and sustain Coloradans to afford their energy needs. Established in 1989, EOC was formed on the belief that everyone deserves affordable access to the vital resources that power our homes. When everyone can afford and maintain their home energy usage, they can focus on living rather than merely surviving.
At EOC’s beginning, the primary intent was to get individuals caught up on their utility bills. But by the early 2000s, when gas prices had started to increase, EOC saw that nonprofit organizations serving community members also needed additional assistance with their energy costs. In 2006, EOC started the Non-Profit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP) to help lower the costs of nonprofit’s electricity bills. From there, EOC expanded into three categories: single-family, multi-family, and nonprofit.
The single-family programs provide financial assistance to stabilize and lower families’ energy bills. EOC works to ensure families don’t go without power by paying energy bills, innovating ways to reduce household energy usage, helping families subscribe to community solar gardens, and offering crisis intervention programs like emergency heating systems and repairs. The Multi-Family Assistance Program operates primarily in apartment complexes or other multi-unit housing and provides similar services to the single-family program.
EOC also integrates an education component into all of its programs by helping families and nonprofit partners understand their energy bills and how to decrease their energy costs.
“When you pay attention to your energy usage, you can start to spread out appliance usage that causes peaks,” said Brooke Pike, EOC’s Director of Energy Efficiency Programs.
For example, if you run your dishwasher at a time when your air conditioning is not running full steam, you can spread out peaks in energy usage and lower the cost of your bill.
“Beyond just assisting families with their energy bill, we aim to make sure the bill is fair in the first place,” said Pike. “Because of our expertise in consumer energy issues, we lead the state in pursuing affordable energy policies with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the Colorado General Assembly, and gas and electric distribution companies.”
EOC has helped pass legislation to raise millions of dollars for energy assistance and energy efficiency. Their advocacy work provides low-income households access to previously unattainable benefits such as home and building energy efficiency upgrades funded in full and rate structures that don’t disproportionately affect the low-income population.
EOC has been a long-standing partner of Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), helping to guide our nonprofit buildings through sustainable upgrades and offering reimbursements for our energy usage bills. EOC has worked with ULC on Curtis Park Nonprofit Center, Tramway Nonprofit Center, Mountain View Nonprofit Center, and Oxford Vista by making each building more sustainable through upgrades including LED lighting, HVAC, building controls, insulation, air sealing, and low flow aerators. EOC has provided well over $600,000 in grants to ULC over the past 11 years.
“EOC has been an invaluable partner to ULC,” said Aaron Martinez, ULC’s Facilities and Sustainability Manager. “As ULC strives to lead the way in highly efficient office and multi-family buildings, EOC has provided support and resources to help us get there.”
EOC will continue to advocate for low-income individuals at the State and public utility commission levels. As the struggle to keep energy affordable continues, EOC remains firmly committed to its many programs. We are grateful for all their work in our community and thank them for leading such significant sustainability efforts.