Saco Family Finances Home Weatherization With Maine PACE Loan

(SACO) – Nearly 80 Maine communities have either approved a local ordinance or, like Kennebunkport, will soon vote on passing an ordinance allowing homeowners to avail themselves of a convenient way to finance home energy efficiency upgrades using a Maine PACE Loan.

Robert and Amy Dudley are using their loan funds to weatherize their home at 408 Main Street in Saco. Like a growing number of Maine residents, the Dudleys are hoping to get a jump on controlling next winter’s high energy costs. The Dudleys are among the first Mainers to have applied for a PACE Loan, and had their home weatherized by Evergreen Home Performance in mid-June.

For a story on the Dudleys that appeared in the Journal Tribune, CLICK HERE.

The PACE Loan program has been popular with residents looking for a weapon to battle the high cost of heating fuel by making their home less drafty, better insulated, and more energy efficient. Investments made generate savings year after year.

PACE loans are available in Maine cities and towns that have passed a PACE ordinance. Already, 79 Maine municipalities have passed PACE ordinances, and represent more than half the state’s population.

Loan applicants can borrow up to $15,000 over 15 years at 4.99% for energy upgrades that often 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.

Homeowners start by hiring a participating energy advisor to conduct an audit. After they get prequalified for a loan, they hire 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.

Next community over, Biddeford Fire Captain John Pothier had an energy upgrade done to his three-unit Biddeford apartment building, including converting the owner’s heating system from an oil burner to a gas boiler, which is expected to save him significant money on his energy bills.

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.