Click here or the image above to view WCSH’s news story on our very first Maine PACE Loan.
(ROCKLAND) – Rockland residents Michael and Jody Herbert aren’t dreading next winter quite so much. That’s because they are among a growing number of Maine homeowners that have found a powerful new weapon in their arsenal to battle Maine’s perennial foes, Old Man Winter.
Just weeks after Efficiency Maine launched its Maine PACE Loan program, loan recipients are beginning to receive funds to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes – hoping to get a jump on controlling next winter’s high energy costs.
The Herberts are the first Maine homeowners to apply for a Maine PACE Loan, and are using their loan proceeds to weatherize their home at 86 Mechanic Street in Rockland. Evergreen Home Performance, a Rockland-based company specializing in weatherization and energy efficiency, are weatherizing the home.
“Energy prices kept going up. I could just feel it was getting impossible to live here,” said Michael Herbert. “We carried in four tons of wood pellets to feed the stove in the living room and our brand new propane furnace was burning 800 gallons to get us through the winter. With two daughters in college, we couldn’t do anything until these loans became available.”
About 70 Maine municipalities have passed PACE ordinances, and additional municipalities are working on getting ordinances approved. Launched in April, 100 people have already applied for a PACE loan during a time that is normally quiet for weatherization contractors.
PACE Loans allow eligible homeowners to borrow up to $15,000 over 15 years at 4.99% for energy upgrades that generate enough savings on heating bills to pay back the loans. Unlike ordinary loans, PACE loans are transferable with the property if it is sold.
“Thousands of Mainers have discovered that the lowest cost option to heat their home is to make efficiency upgrades,” explains Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine. “On average, people who have weatherized their homes through Efficiency Maine programs use 1/3 less heating oil per year. Imagine if you used those annual savings to invest in a retirement plan or your child’s college expenses.”
About 2,000 people have weatherized their homes through Efficiency Maine programs since 2010.
Homeowners start the PACE Loan process by hiring a participating energy advisor at www.efficiencymaine.com/PACE to conduct an audit. After they prequalify for a loan, they hire vendors from a complete list of registered vendors to complete weatherization improvements including insulating, installing energy efficient windows and doors, upgrading heating systems, installing energy efficient lighting and appliances, and installing solar thermal or photovoltaic systems.
The Maine PACE Loan program was seeded by a $30 million American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT (AARA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2009, Efficiency Maine won a competitive grant to capitalize, administer, and market the loans.
For more information on Maine PACE Loans, or for additional information about energy efficiency and Efficiency Maine programs, visit www.efficiencymaine.com, or call 1-866-376-2463.
Efficiency Maine is an independent quasi-state agency dedicated to promoting the more efficient and cost-effective use of energy in order to save money for Maine residents and businesses, expand the economy, and create jobs.