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Efficiency is key

December 7, 2010

Local residents have an opportunity to apply for grants to help improve energy efficiency in their home. Grant recipients will be able to use local contractors to replace windows, roofs and more to keep their homes warm. Photo courtesy

Homeowners in Inyo County will soon be able to apply for grants to improve their home’s energy efficiency and the work will be done by local contractors.
The California Rural Home Mortgage Finance Authority, of which Inyo is one of 20 participating counties, has recently received a $16.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. The grant money will be available soon to local homeowners and local contractors. Those who have been certified to prescribed work will have first crack at the bidding.
Carolyn Holmes, director of marketing for CHF said by phone Monday that the goal of the grant is to make homes more energy efficient and put locals to work. She explained that local contractors interested in the work will have to complete a training and certification course to be able to both evaluate a home and perform the work needed.
Holmes described the program as “whole home retrofit.” This means a home will be analyzed as to what would be the most feasible and economical way to make it as energy efficient as possible.
This covers the gamut from new appliances or roof work, Holmes said, depending on what the contractor recommends and how much a homeowner wants to borrow. She explained that homeowners can have the opportunity to borrow little or large amounts of money.
Interest rates are fixed at three-percent for 15 years. Holmes explained that goal of the retrofit is to have the savings in energy bills offset the cost of the grant.
For example, Holmes calculated that a $10,000 loan equals a monthly payment of approximately $69 after utility rebates. Holmes said the goal would then be to save the homeowner $69 a month in energy costs.
The CHF wants local contractors to do the work as well.
“Energy efficient efforts that will create jobs for our member counties is a win-win proposition for them,” said CHF Executive Director Greg Norton in a press release. The CHF says it expects the grants to create more than 490 new jobs.
Holmes said the program is in its launching stages with only four counties – Yuba, Sutter, Placerville and El Dorado – participating so far. The program is being run in the four counties and being “smoothed out” before being introduced to the other counties.
She said she expects the program to move to other counties by the first of the year with contractor classes and application deadlines to be set soon.
Contractors interested in participating can call the CHF at (855) 740-8422l, or Holmes at (916) 444-2615.

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