On a Thursday morning, I gave Snowmass Village resident Yvonne Klausmann a call, inquiring if she’d be willing to be featured in our monthly You Are Powerful campaign. With the sound of saws in the background (she is in the midst of a significant home remodel) we chatted about her new life in the valley, remodel successes and challenges, and what gets her up each day.
A Girl Scout troop leader, thrift store volunteer, school PTO representative, and back-porch tomato gardener in her “spare” time, Klausmann has a busy schedule. And she enjoys it that way. Her family moved to Snowmass Village from New Jersey to get a change of lifestyle, closer access to the activities they revel in: biking, hiking, and camping. Klausmann loves the community and the school system for her young daughters: “Everyone here is happy and appreciative to live in this environment, and we feel the same way.”
When not giving back to her community or enjoying the outdoors, she’s navigating her family’s construction zone, which began shortly after she moved West a year ago.
“The first priority was energy and saving money,” commented the east coast transplant. “We were in a new environment and we wanted to know where our home’s deficiencies were.”
After seeing an ad in the local paper, Klausmann called CORE to schedule a free home energy assessment*. The assessment proved to be a valuable stepping stone in her remodel process: “It was very helpful to get us to know our weak areas and prioritize what projects to do first.”
Klausmann incorporated energy efficiency upgrades from the start. She purchased the home in August 2017, received the assessment a month later, and immediately moved forward with various projects. She received four rebates from CORE with additional rebates from Black Hills Energy and Holy Cross Energy, totaling roughly $1,700 in cash-back incentives.
“I tend to try and take it all on myself,” said Klausmann. “When CORE took over the rebate work, it was fantastic. [CORE] handling that aspect of the project was huge in the middle of construction.”
Now her home features all-new LED lighting, high-efficiency heating equipment, and various controls. With a whopping 13 heating zones in her home, one simple upgrade, the programmable thermostat, is already making a huge difference: “We had all the old school thermostats where you move the little stick to change the temperature.”
Now they can “set it and forget it” with digital programmable thermostats. Considering you can save almost 10% a year by turning your thermostat down seven to ten degrees, the Klausmann’s can count on lower utility costs this winter. The family also installed a heat-tape timer after a shockingly high May utility bill where they discovered a hidden panel that had been left on long after the last spring snow. The Klausmann’s aren’t alone; our energy analysts often find heat tape that isn’t switched off at the change of seasons. It’s a common culprit for high-electric bills.
“Having the assessment was essential to know our weak areas,” said Klausmann. “The assessment helped prioritize what projects to do first. Thanks to CORE, I don’t have to do it all on my own, leaving more time to enjoy my family, our community, and spending time outdoors.”
The Klausmann family home remodel is still trucking along. The kitchen, floors, deck, and windows are on her list next. Klausmann hasn’t forgotten her eye for energy efficiency. The attic and crawlspace will be air sealed and insulated simultaneously with the aesthetic upgrades, saving her energy and improving comfort. Her to-do list might seem long, but Klausmann enjoys keeping busy. With a little less time spent on energy upgrades and rebates, she can focus on what makes herself most happy: enjoying the outdoors with family, giving back to her new community, and picking juicy tomatoes from the back-porch.
Finding yourself in a similar situation to the Klausmann family? Curious about improving the energy efficiency of your home? Take the first step by signing up for a Home Energy Assessment. * Bonus: For the month of October, Town of Snowmass Village and City of Aspen residents can receive the assessment at NO COST (while supplies last).