Required energy audit creates demand for local approved contractors
HARRISBURG, PA – December 29, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord today announced new, innovative financing options available through the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). Qualified Pennsylvania homeowners can now take advantage of lower-rate, fixed-term loans for whole home energy efficiency projects – upon completion of a home energy audit designed to identify the most effective energy conserving improvements in each home.
“Keystone HELP is a national model for sustainable lending to retrofit existing homes with efficient equipment,” Treasurer McCord said. “We are adding this new financing option to an existing suite of loans to save homeowners money, conserve energy, and create demand for green-certified installers and manufacturers.”
The new Conservation Audit and Performance Protocol (CAPP) Loans can be used for qualifying activities such as insulation and air sealing, as well as other ENERGY STAR improvements involving heating and cooling equipment. Unsecured loans up to $15,000 are available under CAPP for 3, 5, or 10 year terms at an interest rate of 2.99%, the lowest rate HELP has ever offered for unsecured loans.
Loans for single measure ENERGY STAR improvements remain available, at rates starting from 7.99%. Homeowners can also choose a low-interest secured loan of up to $35,000. These loans are offered at rates as low as 3.875% for 10, 15, or 20 year terms. The secured loan portion of the HELP program is supported by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
This enhancement of the Keystone HELP program will encourage more comprehensive energy efficiency improvements by offering lower rates to homeowners who make multiple, whole home improvements based on the results of their home energy audit. This approach will lead to larger energy reductions and greater savings on energy bills for Pennsylvania homeowners.
“Energy conservation is the first step to energy independence,” Treasurer McCord said. “The more we can do to encourage affordable energy efficiency, the closer we get to the world we all want – clean and less reliant on foreign and carbon-emitting energy sources.”
Keystone HELP loans are available to one or two unit owner-occupied homes located anywhere in Pennsylvania. To be eligible for Keystone HELP loans, all audits, installation and other work must be performed by an approved contractor. Keystone HELP and the program administrator, AFC First Financial Corporation, maintain a network of over 1,600 approved contractors.
Created by the Pennsylvania Treasury and AFC First Financial Corporation of Allentown, Keystone HELP is an innovative, nationally recognized program that provides low-interest loans to homeowners for energy conservation improvements. Keystone HELP began offering loans with even lower interest rates in 2009, when Treasury partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to expand the program’s impact by using funds appropriated under Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Investment Act.
This latest HELP enhancement also continues Treasury’s partnership with DEP. Treasury’s investment will provide capital for the loans, which are also supported by funds granted to DEP under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Keystone HELP has helped over 7,000 homeowners finance over $45 million in money-saving home improvements. Visit www.keystonehelp.com to learn more or apply for a loan.