Let’s Talk MONEY!!!

Aug 2, 2023Amanda's Corner0 comments

MONEY!….sigh…Yup, we all want more of it, never seem to have enough of it, and sweat when we have to spend it!

But…Here’s what so many of us don’t know.  There are numerous incentives and rebates floating around right now to help encourage us to make energy upgrades and improvements to our homes, without breaking our banks.  We aren’t just talking about solar. There are great incentives for simpler and super impactful projects, like adding insulation to your attic. Or for bigger projects like upgrading your heating or cooling systems to a more energy-efficient type, changing your windows to newer thermal types, or installing geothermal heating/cooling!  There are even special programs in place specifically for landlords who own rental properties.  

What does this mean for you?  It means you might be able to insulate that attic that’s losing valuable heat in winter or cool air in summer, for less than you think and with a no interest loan!  Or maybe your furnace is on its last leg and you don’t have $8,000-$12,000 sitting around to replace it.  No worries, with an upgrade to a more energy efficient system, you could qualify for rebates, cutting the cost of the project and reducing the total price, and you may be able to get a Home Heat loan at a low interest rate of .99%!  Let’s break down some of the programs and incentives.

Capital For Change, or C4C, offers energy efficiency loans to help empower homeowners to make energy improvements at low rates.  Their loan programs apply to improvements of all sizes, like insulation, windows, Energy Star heating and cooling systems, hot water heaters, and solar panels.  

As an example, you could use their Micro Loan to finance smaller energy efficiency improvements at 0% financing.  Yup…ZERO.  Let’s say you want to put insulation in your attic.  As long as you’ve paid your electric bill, mostly on-time, you can put the cost (let’s use $3,000 for this example) on your Eversource electric bill account, at zero % interest with no credit check.  You heard that correctly.  You can get your new insulation by borrowing the money for free from Eversource.  As an added bonus, if you’ve had a recent energy audit done, EcoSmart Home Services will let you assign the rebate you qualify for to them, reducing the overall cost to you, and any small remaining balance can be put on your electric bill.  That way, you can go forward with as little money out of pocket as possible, and EcoSmart will file all of the required paperwork for you and wait, and wait, and wait for the rebate to come, rather than you having to put money out, file paperwork, and wait, and wait, and wait for the rebate to come to you.  

C4C and Energize CT offer a Smart E Loan, which covers more numerous and larger projects by offering low-interest loans.  You can even combine projects.  This loan can be used for Solar panels, asbestos or mold remediation, roof repairs, efficiency heating and cooling systems…..and more.  The rates vary depending on the payback term you choose, and require no money down.  Again, EcoSmart may be able to help you identify all the rebates your project might qualify for, and you can assign the rebate to EcoSmart to reduce the amount you finance up front.  

Energize CT offers financing incentives for heating specifically.  They offer a Heat Loan program which, based on the energy efficiency of your new system and the projected energy savings, you could qualify for a .99% loan!  (That’s less than 1%!)  The new system must be Energy Star rated, and it does require a minimum downpayment.  Again, those payments can be added to your monthly electric bill.  This program could allow many of us to switch from burning expensive and environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels, to energy efficient clean electrified systems.

Lastly, if you own a rental property, you can make use of the Landlord Loan to finance solar, geothermal, windows, central air, boilers and numerous other energy efficient upgrades.  The loans can be used to finance between $3,000 and $40,000, and rates are between 4.49% and 6.99% interest for a 5-12 year repayment term.  

Don’t forget to consult EcoSmart for the latest rebates and incentives.  The utility companies and Connecticut Green Bank offer the programs I mentioned to help homeowners afford and finance these energy-saving projects.  There may be Federal and/or State rebates to help further reduce your total project costs!  And don’t forget to ask for that energy audit to qualify for the best possible incentives!  

Here are the websites you can reference for all of the incentives, qualifying criteria, list of participating contractors, and other pertinent information.  

Capital For Change overview of programs: https://www.capitalforchange.org/energy-efficiency-programs

C4C Micro Loan: https://www.capitalforchange.org/hes-micro-loan

C4C Smart E Loan: https://www.capitalforchange.org/smart-energy-loans-1

Energize CT Smart E Loan: https://energizect.com/financing/smart-e-loans

Energize CT Heat Loan Program: https://ctheatloan.com/

C4C Landlord Loan programs: https://www.capitalforchange.org/landlord-loans

One final resource for considering shifting away from fossil fuels and learning about all the possible rebates, incentives, and income-eligible promotions is:

Take time to soak up some sun!