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High Country Conservation Center 737 Ten Mile Dr Frisco CO 80443 PO Box 4506 Frisco CO 80443


(970) 668-5703


This love story begins at the Breckenridge bus station. Chilean-American Nico Cruz was working as a ski instructor at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Yes Garcia, from Ecuador, was on a monthlong trip to visit friends. It was only Yes’ second day in the county, and Nico offered to teach her to ski. Their first date, night skiing at Keystone, was – in Yes’ words – “a disaster.” They’ve been together ever since…but now Yes snowboards.

Nico and Yes have been through a lot since that first date. Nico had been accepted to a graduate program in the Netherlands, and Yes traveled with him. While they were there, the COVID-19 pandemic started. The couple had to decide if they were going to stay in Europe or relocate to Chile, Ecuador, or the U.S. They chose to move back to Summit County in December 2020. In the midst of it all, they got married – twice – and Yes received her U.S. residency. Now, Nico works for the FIRC, and Yes works for the County. And in April 2023, they moved into their very own home.

The walls of their Dillon Valley condo are blue. Yes says it makes her feel like she’s living at the beach, which she loves. She also loves that they can go for bike rides right from their door. And, she says, “it’s ours, and that means a lot – even though it’s this tiny thing, we have space for family.”

They signed up for an energy audit because they wanted to learn more about their new home. “We don’t even know what the attic looks like,” shares Nico. “And I’d love to influence the HOA to make some improvements, and this could be the first step. These buildings are heated with gas, and the HOA has to be made aware that gas is not the future. We need to be thinking ahead.” For both Nico and Yes, it’s also important to show their Latino friends and neighbors that HC3 – and the broader community – have programs that can help them, too.

As Taylor, HC3’s Energy Programs Manager and in-house energy auditor walked around the condo with his infrared camera, Nico and Yes were impressed with what it revealed. “I would totally recommend getting an audit,” reflects Nico. “There are lots of things you don’t see – like the air leaks in the ceiling. I would have never guessed they were there. Those insights are really helpful.”

Moving forward, Nico and Yes are planning to install smart thermostats. They’re also hoping to improve wintertime comfort with the help of rebates from HC3. And, they look forward to sharing the results of their assessment with their HOA.

Energy improvements: Home Energy Assessment
Upfront cost: $450
Rebates: $401
Final cost: $49

Interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home? HC3’s Energy Smart Colorado program can help pay for your project.

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These grants are designed to help local entities and government agencies prevent and reduce waste. Recieve up to $70k to make your waste diversion projects a reality!