Although some energy-efficiency incentives offered by electric utilities may have expired by now, some utilities are still offering rebates, even to electric customers that have switched to an alternative electric supplier. However, a new, more ambitious program by the federal government is helping homeowners who want to do more than install CFL light bulbs or trade out their old refrigerators for new, energy-efficient models.
To encourage large home energy-efficiency upgrades, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in November began a two-year pilot program to offer low-interest, government-backed PowerSaver loans to qualified homeowners who are looking to save money on monthly utility bills.
Homeowners can apply for PowerSaver loans of up to $25,000 at eighteen regional and national lenders, often at or below market rates. The loans are meant to finance big-ticket home energy-efficiency upgrades such as high-efficiency HVAC systems, tankless water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling systems.
The loans, which will serve an estimated 30,000 borrowers over the length of the pilot program, are expected to help homeowners save energy, reduce pollution, and create at least 3,000 jobs in the energy-retrofit market.
“U.S. Helps Homeowners Get Loans to Improve Energy Efficiency,” USA Today, April 25, 2011.
“HUD Announces Pilot Program to Help Homeowners Pay For Energy Improvements to Their Homes,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development press release, Nov. 9, 2010.