If you can't afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency home improvements, help is here - that is, if you're a customer of Brunswick Electric Membership Cooperative (BEMC). The rest of us will just have to remain green with envy.
For years, stakeholders in the retrofit industry have insisted that mass adoption of home energy efficiency upgrades would not occur unless homeowners had access to innovative financing options. It so happens that BEMC has been an innovator in this area for years - since 1989 to be exact. As of December 2011, the electric cooperative had loaned approximately $7.8 million for energy efficiency projects in existing homes.
BEMC will loan eligible homeowners up to $6,000 for retrofit or weatherization projects at a 5% interest rate. Repayment of the loans is usually spread out over five years. What's more, borrowers make their monthly loan payments as part of their utility bill. Reductions in energy use should offset some portion of the loan payment. It doesn't get much easier than that! On second thought, "Oh, yes it does." BEMC processes loan applications quickly - often within 24 hours.
Loan applicants will need to provide a cost estimate for the project and they must contact BEMC before work begins. After submitting the loan application and obtaining approval, the homeowner can then hire a contractor and start the project. When the job is complete, the borrower signs a promissory note and BEMC writes a check to the contractor.
Some of the residential projects for which financing is available are: new heat pumps with a minimum 15 SEER rating, new solar or electric water heaters, replacement windows, mobile home "roofovers", and insulation for walls, ceilings, floors and ductwork. Weather stripping, caulking, and storm windows and doors also qualify for the program.
A year ago, BEMC launched a similar program for businesses and churches. The cooperative's commercial customers can apply for loans up to $10,000. Commercial loans are available for renewable energy projects, as well as energy efficiency. More information about both types of loans is available on the BEMC Web site
or by calling 910-754-4391.