March 10, 2009

Finance Your Energy Upgrades through New Boulder County Program

There is a new way to pay for those energy efficiency upgrades that you’ve been putting off, without having to come up with the money in uncertain times.  It’s a new program available to Boulder County residents which will finance projects through loans that will be attached to the property owner’s annual tax assessment. 

This program is being administered by Climate Smart , Boulder’s effort to reduce green house gas emissions.  There is a very limited window of opportunity to take advantage of this program as residential applications for this lending cycle are due the first week of April and you must attend a workshop and obtain bids for the work before March 31st.

Energy Efficiency measures that are funded through this program include:
¨  High efficiency furnaces
¨  Hot water heaters
¨  Insulation
¨  Air Sealing
¨  Windows
As well as renewable energy additions such as:
¨  Solar
¨  Geothermal
¨  Small wind 
All eligible measures must conform to the guidelines and standards set forth by the Climate Smart Loan Program.

In November of 2008 voters in Boulder County passed ballot issue 1A, allowing the County to issue bonds for the purpose of providing financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.  Voters approved 40 million dollars in bonds, $28 million of which is allocated for Boulder County residences, the remaining $12 million will go towards commercial buildings. 
The loans will be funded by the sale of those bonds and repaid through special assessments, attached to the owner’s property tax statements. The special assessments will remain with the property when the property is sold.  This is a voluntary program; therefore, only residents that choose to opt-in will be subject to the increase in their special assessment taxes.  There is a minimum loan size of $3,000 per property and a maximum loan size of $50,000 or up to 20 percent of the property’s statutory actual value (listed as actual value on tax statements), whichever is less. Income qualified loans are also available at a reduced interest rate and will be capped at $15,000 as per federal law.

Boulder County is the first county in the U.S. to implement a program like this, offering a range of opportunities for homeowners and building owners alike.  This program was designed to help Boulder reach its long-term carbon neutrality goal and Kyoto Protocol target.  In order to reach these goals it will require a significant reduction in the current level of countywide greenhouse gas emissions.

blog by elephant’s realtor – Liz Benson

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