Home energy loans now available in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

Home energy loans now available in Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY – A new opportunity for saving money and energy has come available in Summit County.

Summit County government, the Town of Breckenridge and High Country Conservation Center are unveiling a new loan program to help local residents make their homes more energy efficient. The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) provides low-interest loans to property owners seeking to make energy upgrades to their homes. Program participants will repay the loans through their annual property tax bills.

“It’s a great deal – it’s a low interest rate, and you don’t have to worry about your credit score,” said Lynne Westerfield, energy coordinator for the Conservation Center. “As long as you’re fine on your property tax payments, you’re fine for the loan.”

Through the HELP program, the organizations involved hope to reduce Summit County’s overall energy use and support new and existing energy-related businesses.

HELP loans are available to full-time homeowners throughout Summit County, including those inside incorporated towns. The loans can be used to pay for energy improvements like air sealing, improved insulation, ventilation, space heating, water heating and pellet stoves.

Breckenridge residents may also receive loans for renewable energy systems. The Town of Breckenridge loans have an income restriction of 180 percent of area median income (AMI).

“The sustainability of our community is one of my priorities, and this loan program helps support the Breckenridge Vision Plan by lessening our carbon footprint,” Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said. “It’s a win-win partnership with HC3 and Summit County.”

Participating homeowners will be required to prioritize upgrades or improvements identified in a certified energy audit. Various rebates for energy audits are available through state and local programs. The size of an individual HELP loan can range from $3,000 to $20,000.

“It’s really tailored to the average person who wants to make some improvements,” Westerfield said.

The Conservation Center’s residential energy specialist, Matt Wright, said homes that are 15 years old or older tend to have the most to gain from energy upgrades. Such homes have the potential to reduce their energy costs by as much as 40 percent. But even newer homes stand to benefit from energy audits and some minor improvements, he said.

HELP applicants must attend a short informational workshop conducted by the Conservation Center.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or jsutor@summitdaily.com.

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