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Maryland Home Energy Loan Program Commits First $100,000 for Homeowners’ Efficiency Improvements

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.

http://blip.tv/pastorandythompsontruthtalks/home-improvements-1339335

“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

the state.

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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