Atmos Energy recently donated $50,000 to help Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County build a more energy-efficient home.
Specifically, the funds will be used to build the nonprofit’s 2020 project, which will use clean-burning natural gas appliances and solar power, along with energy-efficient insulation and building materials.
“This is really meaningful to us. It really is a very generous donation,” Habitat’s executive director Molly Greenlee said at a check presentation ceremony Thursday afternoon. “We’re excited about the partnershi, and just ready to build more affordable homes in Montezuma County with you guys.”
The house will join other Habitat projects along East 12th Street.
In 2008, Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County officially became an affiliate of the international nonprofit, which focuses on affordable housing construction. They have completed about two dozen exterior home repair projects throughout the county, and this October will finish their sixth home build. Their current goal is to build one home a year.
Their seventh home build, slated for construction in 2020, will be the chapter’s first home build project in partnership with Atmos. It’s also their first to focus on energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.
“We’ve just been trying to get a little better each year with each house build,” Greenlee said. “Especially now that we’re doing new construction. And so we’re looking to be more energy efficient, while maintaining that affordability for our homeowners.”
Atmos Energy provides natural gas distribution services throughout the United States.
Although this is Atmos’ first big partnership with the Montezuma County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, the company has donated services and supplies to the local group. Atmos has also collaborated with other Colorado Habitat branches, primarily in Weld County.
The two entities hope to continue the partnership.
“Affordable housing starts with affordable energy,” said Jennifer Altieri, vice president of public affairs for Atmos’ Colorado/Kansas division.
Right now, natural gas prices are at an all-time low, Altieri said, with Colorado customers paying on average about $49 per month.
“I think adding solar to the mix is only going to make that even better,” Altieri said, adding that this would be a sort of “test home” for Atmos to see how the different energy sources work together.
According to Greenlee, about 40% of Montezuma County residents would qualify to apply for Habitat’s homeownership program. Right now, monthly mortgage payments range from $525-$675 per month.