ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two months after its introduction, the Maryland Home Energy Loan Program
(MHELP), which enables Marylander homeowners to access unsecured,
low-cost, funds for efficiency upgrades, has cleared its first $100,000
in loan commitments.
“Ultimately, the goal is to help consumers reduce the cost of their
power bills. We understand that most families don’t have extra money to
make an investment in home improvements that an energy auditor might
recommend, but might be inclined to implement the recommendations if the
money was available. This program allows a consumer to borrow money for
efficiency improvements at a very attractive rate without racking up
high interest credit card debt or tying up the equity in their home,”
said I. Katherine Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean
Energy Center, which administers the MHELP program with funds from the
Maryland Energy Administration and the federal 2009 American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act.
MHELP is designed to help achieve Governor O’Malley’s four-pronged
energy strategy that includes reducing per capital peak demand for
energy 15% by 2015 (from a 2007 baseline). Efficiency improvements also
reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, help create green jobs by
boosting demand for more certified energy auditors and contractors and,
where appropriate, identifies where renewable energy systems that can
supplant homeowners’ need for electricity supplied by the power grid.
Homeowners interested in exploring a loan from MHELP need to complete a
home energy audit by a certified auditor if they haven’t done so within
the past six months. The resulting assessment is likely to recommend
several ways a home can save energy. Thus far, the Maryland Clean Energy
Center has committed about $120,000 for loans to homeowners throughout
As expected, most home improvement applications since the MHELP program
launched in late December encompass upgrading insulation, plugging air
leaks, sealing ducts and replacing furnaces, heat pumps and/or air
conditioners that are at least 10 years old. “These measures not only
help save on energy costs but could also make for a more comfortable
home during heating and cooling seasons,” Magruder said.
With audit recommendations in hand, Marylanders can go to http://MCECloans.org
to apply. These loans do not need to be secured by the owner’s home or
other large asset. The clean energy loan amounts are capped at $20,000.
The rate is 6.99%. Most unsecured loans at commercial banks carry
interest rates at twice that rate. Some interest rates are rising as the
economic recovery picks up momentum.
The approval process typically takes a few days. Improvements need to be
performed by contractors with a Maryland Home Improvement Certification.
Lists of both qualifying auditors and contractors are available at http://www.mdhomeperformance.org/findacontractor.php.
Homeowners with proof of a qualifying audit within the past six months
can proceed immediately to the application.
The Maryland Clean Energy Center exists to grow the residential and
business markets for energy efficiency and renewable energy, help clean
energy entrepreneurs launch and scale up their businesses in Maryland
and advise state policymakers on the economic development benefits of a
more robust clean energy economy in Maryland.
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