2010 Project of the Year: Making Low-Income Denver Homes More Efficient

Winner: Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC)

In 2009, Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) diversified and expanded its operations - and the result was a gigantic savings of energy - and energy costs - for residents who needed it most. Low-income single family and multi-family units in Denver with high energy bills received no-cost energy audits and retrofit services. Four days a week, 10 months of the year, teams of Corpsmembers audited homes, installed compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), high-efficiency shower heads (SH) and sink aerators and conducted energy and water use assessments.

MHYC served over 25,000 CFLs, 2,000 SHs and 5,000 sink aerators - which typically led to a 20 - 30 percent reduction in client utility costs. These measures will reduce energy use by 3,000,000 kWh over their life-cycle, reduce emissions of CO2 equivalents by 5,500,000 pounds, and lead to water savings of over 48,000,000 gallons.

Audit data sent to local weatherization partners and Denver Water enabled them to connect over half of the clients to more extensive no-cost services: replacement of ineffiecent toilets, refrigerators, furnaces and/or installation of improved insulation in their homes. Also, Corpsmembers have received job training, energy and environmental education and community service hours - enabling them to succeed in the burgeoning energy economy.