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Courtesy of Center for ReSource Conservation

How You Can Help Low-Income Families Save on Utility Costs

The Center for ReSource Conservation has launched a program to help low-income families save water, energy, and money.

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As our presidential candidates debate the best plan for the economy and whether or not climate change is a hoax (it isn’t), Boulder nonprofit, Center for ReSource Conservation (CRC), has been busy doing its part to tackle issues closer to home. In recent years, as state housing costs have soared, the price of water, gas, and electricity have taken a strain on low-income families. According to Numbeo, a cost of living research firm, Denver households spend around $1,500 a year on utilities. It’s the position of the CRC that, as property costs go up, it falls on conservation initiatives to keep the cost of living low.

Launched in 1976, the Center for ReSource Conservation was envisioned as a way to help Coloradans transition to more sustainable ways of living. That mission plays out in everything from its upcycled retail store, ReSource, to the Garden in a Box program, which saves water and money for families via smart landscaping choices. Conservation for All is the CRC’s newest program, launched on October 4 and designed to help save Coloradans money. The logic: Conserving water, energy, and other resources translates to financial savings.

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How it works is both simple and scalable. More affluent community members are encouraged to use the website to donate things like LED light bulbs, high-efficiency toilets, and solar panels—all donations are tax deductible and come with no further obligation. Three times a year, Conservation for All works, in coordination with local housing authorities (Denver Housing Authority and Boulder Housing Partners, to name two), to deliver and install the goods in low-income homes (solar panels are installed by Namasté Solar on a rolling basis).

“We’ve set a goal to generate $5 million in savings for low-income families by 2020,” says Neal Lurie, CRC president. “What makes Conservation for All unique is that it empowers the community to help families in need and preserve natural resources—a win-win for everybody.”

Although LED lights cost more initially, they can last more than a decade and use significantly less electricity than traditional bulbs. Swapping out just one old toilet for a high-efficiency WaterSense model saves 300,000 gallons of water. Both are better for the planet, and better for your wallet.

As the election divides the country on issues of the economy and sustainability, grassroots initiatives like this bypass bipartisan bickering to help everyday folk. Not to mention that the environmental benefits will last well past our next president’s term.

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