The EnergySmart Loan Program is a partnership between Snohomish County and the Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU) and provides homeowners with financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including installing insulation, sealing ductwork, heating equipment upgrades and solar-system installation.
When the program launched last spring, 11 loans were made during the second quarter of 2012 totaling $169,552. By comparison, 51 loans were made in the first quarter of 2013 totaling $383,882.
Participation continues to grow with more than $200,000 in loans made in April alone, bringing the program's service total to more than $1 million dollars in EnergySmart loans during its first year in operation.
"The program's tremendous success demonstrates that there is a need for this service in our community" says County Executive Aaron Reardon. "Participating in the EnergySmart Loan Program provides an easy way for residents to invest in their home while saving energy and money on their utility bills."
Heating upgrades comprise the largest sector of the program's projects so far, namely the installation of heat pumps and high efficiency furnaces. Many program customers are going beyond a single measure and incorporating new equipment upgrades with other cost-effective energy saving measures.
"Participants are completing multiple energy conservation measures through our program, such as installing insulation and putting in a heat pump" says Energy and Sustainable Development Analyst Lisa Dulude.
The loan program has several advantages when compared to financing options. First, the EnergySmart Loan Program allows customers to take advantage of local utility rebates for energy conservation measures while using the Snohomish County program for project financing. The EnergySmart Loan Program is also a fuel-neutral program, meaning that it supports energy efficiency whether for electricity or natural gas reductions.
"I have found that by going through Snohomish County's loan program, customers find getting the utility incentives very attractive to them," said Todd Torell of Snohomish Energy Services, adding that this benefits customers and businesses. "Once they hear that they can get a loan at a low-interest rate and still get the rebates offered, it has helped bring more business to my company."
The County's EnergySmart Loan Program is free for contractors to use and can provide a portion of upfront financing costs, which is critical to support small business.
For more information about the County's EnergySmart Loan Program, please visit www.psccu.org<http://www.psccu.org> and click on 'Loans' and 'Energy Smart'.