Monday, May 2, 2011

Colorado Senate considers credit for energy-efficient improvements

Energy-efficient home improvements could be financed through easy-term credit under a proposal that debuted last week in the Senate Agriculture and Energy Committee.

Senate Bill 32, by Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, would create a loan program for homeowners wanting to install energy-efficient improvements like new windows, doors and insulation. The loans would be facilitated by public utilities like Xcel Energy as well as bank’s and would benefit from eased borrowing criteria that would extend credit to those who may not otherwise qualify.

For homeowners to be eligible, an energy audit first would be performed on their homes to identify inefficiencies. Payments for the low-interest loans would be made alongside a borrower’s utility bill—a bill that Johnson projects will be lower thanks to the enhanced energy efficiency from the improvements.

Committee action on the legislation was postponed to a later date, pending amendments.

Johnson says the concept is motivated by environmental concerns but also produces economic benefits for homeowners who invest in improvements for their home.

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, questioned the wisdom of granting the loans without the leverage of prudent risk-assessment tools.

“The only people you can really help with this are the ones that couldn’t get these loans on their own. So, effectively, this is just another give-away program,” said Brophy.

Via - Colorado News Agency

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