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New program helps homeowners pay for energy efficiency upgrades

Serge Melki
via Flickr
NYSERDA's new on-bill recovery loans aim to help homeowners cover the costs of making their homes more energy efficient.

A new program launched by New York's Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) earlier this week aims to make it easier for homeowners to pay for energy efficiency upgrades.

The new initiative is part of the Green Jobs Green New York program, and it's called an "on-bill recovery loan." 

The program allows homeowners to get a low interest loan to finance up to $25,000 worth of energy efficiency upgrades to their homes - everything from improved insulation, to a new boiler, or energy efficient appliances.

The way they pay back that loan? Paying their power bill.

The idea behind on-bill recovery is loan repayments are added to a homeowner's monthly energy bill, but that those payments will reflect projected savings - so homeowners using the program shouldn't see an increase overall on their bill.

The loan is also structured to stay with the property if it's sold.

Frank Murray, who heads NYSERDA, says the program is designed to provide an incentive to people who may not otherwise invest in energy upgrades.

"In today's economic climate particularly, it's hard. [Do you have] $10,000 just sitting there looking to do something with it? Most people don't," he says.

Former president Bill Clinton echoed that point, and specifically mentioned the initiative when he spoke at an economic development event in Albany last September.

To apply for the loan, homeowners must first undergo an energy audit by a certified contractor, to help identify areas for energy efficiency improvements. That audit will be free for most New Yorkers.

Right now the program is only for homeowners, but NYSERDA is planning to launch a similar program for small businesses and nonprofits later this year.

You can find more details about on-bill recovery loans on NYSERDA's website.

WMHT/Capital Region reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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