ENERGIZING Your Home has Never Been Easier or More Affordable

Even if you’ve had a Green Hammer energy retrofit, you might have opted to wait on the new water heater or new windows. As you might have noticed, there are more and more compelling, no-equity-required, loans available for energy savings.  Confused by all the options?  Want to share some valuable information with your friends?  We researched the myriad options and present them here side-by-side, in plain English.

We’ve been at this business for 10 years and while cash incentives have always been there, if a client didn’t have a lot of cash or home equity, they were stuck. The reality is that homeowners can afford small loans for energy upgrades because they can put energy savings toward their loan repayment.  Equity doesn’t matter.  The exciting news of the day is that banks have FINALLY recognized this and are now clamoring to offer the better loan terms for energy-efficient home improvements.

The best program for homeowners in almost any financial situation is Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO). CEWO offers free Home Performance Assessments, more incentives than you can get by paying cash, and allows you to pay the loan directly on your heating utility bill.  This means that you automatically pay off your loan with your energy savings.  Based on data from upgrading over 1,200 homes in the past two years, CEWO reports that the average project size is about $13,000. The monthly loan payment is $78 and the average monthly energy savings is $55.

This means that the cost to live in a cozy, comfortable, healthier home is only $23 per month!

If you have tried to get a loan for a major remodel recently, you know how impossible it is.  However, with these new energy efficiency loan products, existing homeowners can get financed to make smart home investments, even if they don’t have equity. If you do have some equity in your home, then you can access money for your energy upgrades as well as for other home improvements.  Umpqua, Banner Bank, and a few others have good products available.

After hearing from numerous clients that the multitude of pathways to an energy upgrade is confusing, we decided it was time to dig into the details and present all the options side-by-side, in plain English. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Home Performance division to discuss the various strategies, and how they could work for you.

Your Financial Situation Best Financing Option Pros Cons Tips
No home equity + moderate household income Clean Energy Works Oregon
  • EASY process
  • No money out-of-pocket
  • Incentives reduce loan
  • Loan payments on-bill immediately lowered by energy savings
  • 6% loan
  • 80% of loan amount must directly address energy saving measures.
Apply at www.CleanEnergyWorksOregon.org For up to $2,500 off the top, use Green Hammer’s Instant Rebate Code:  CNGRH
Equity in your home and good credit Home equity loan or line of credit
  • Low interest rates (4%)
  • No closing fees
  • Use for both energy and home improvements
Must have equity in your home Banner Bank and Umpqua Bank offer this deal, get an HPA and a bid first
Low to moderate income families** Savings Within Reach (Energy Trust of Oregon)
  • Contractors paid directly by SWR first, reducing out-of-pocket expense
  • Renters can participate, talk to your landlord.
If still too costly, loan must be obtained separately. Also check with your utility.
Low income families*** Multnomah County Weatherization
  • Contractors paid directly and by Multnomah County
  • Program covers partial to full costs, depending on need
Not comprehensive. Cost-effective measures are prioritized, such as air sealing and insulation. Also check with your utility.
Savings in a bank account earning zero interest Cash out of pocket
  • Immediate returns
  • ETO cash incentives
  • State and Federal Tax credits
– – Get a Home Performance Assessment (HPA) first to assess priorities!

*   Tax credits are state level and for ‘machines’ such as water heaters, ductless heat pumps, etc. Your utility may have incentives as well. Federal tax credits expired Dec 31, 2011. Lobby your Congressional reps to have them reinstated!
**    According to SWR website, 4-person household income less than $55,000
***  According to Multnomah County, 4-person household income less than $38,000

RELATED LINKS 

Resource LINK
Energy Trust of Oregon www.energytrust.org
Clean Energy Works Oregon www.cleanenergyworksoregon.org
Umpqua Green Streets Lending www.umpquabank.com/GreenStreet/landing.aspx
Banner Bank http://www.bannerbank.com/
Savings Within Reach (SWR) www.energytrust.org/income-qualified-assistance/savingswithinreach/
Multnomah County Weatherization http://web.multco.us/dchs-community-services/weatherization

TOTALLY NEW TO HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY?
Estimate how much your project might cost:

Are you certain that you have insulation in your attic, walls, or floor?  What about the age of your furnace or water heater – are they new?

If YES, look at BASIC project type.
If maybe, plan on MODERATE.
If you have no clue and your house feels draftier than the Oregon Coast, then plan on OPTIMIZE.

Project Type: BASIC
Improve Comfort
MODERATE
Improve Comfort and Reduce Bills
OPTIMIZE
Improve Comfort, Reduce Bills, Replace Failing Systems
Work Scope Air sealing, doors, windows Basic + Insulation Moderate + new furnace, seal ducts, new water heater
Approximate Total Cost ~ $1,000 ~ $8,000 ~ $20,000
Optional Add-on’s ~ $15,000 for all new windows

NOTE:  Costs above are approximate only will vary depending the size and condition of your home

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