12 January 2012
Energy Savings: A New Opportunity to Keep PACE
There are some envelopes no one likes to see in their mailbox – a letter from the IRS, a summons for jury duty, and perhaps worst of all at this time of year, another bill from your fuel supplier. (Didn’t you just mail them a check last week?)
And as if that big "Amount Due" number is not bad enough, it's somehow worse when you know you could dramatically reduce it by improving your home’s energy efficiency. But replacing those warped windows, upgrading that inefficient boiler, and sealing the leaky attic can cost thousands of dollars. So even if energy savings would pay back the investment in seven or eight years, it's just not something you can take on.
Well what if there was a painless way to undertake the energy efficiency investments you’d love to make? Or what if you could finally install a solar panel to generate your own hot water? Or just imagine if your dream of generating your own electric power was within reach?
If the Sustainable Woodstock Energy Group (SWEG) has its way, perhaps that moment is at hand. Under a program introduced by the state, the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is offering the residents of any Vermont town that chooses to participate, a way to make energy-saving investments in their properties. Already, 40 Vermont towns have decided to embrace the program.
Here's how it works. Any Woodstock property owner who wanted to make improvements designed to conserve energy or use renewable sources would be eligible for a long term loan at an attractive interest rate. The criteria for granting the loan (up to $30,000 or 15% of the assessed value of the property) would be based solely on the property itself and not on the financial resources of the individual.
Under the administrative umbrella of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the town would bundle the loan applications and borrow the money to fund them. The low-interest loan would be repaid over a maximum 20 years through payments folded into the property tax bill. And because the loan would be attached to the house not the owner, it could be transferred to a new owner if the property was sold.
"Our goal is to create opportunities for Woodstock property owners to save money on energy," said SWEG chair, Chris Miller. "At no additional costs to taxpayers, no burden on the Town, and no obligation on anyone to participate, PACE offers alternative financing for energy improvements that will prove to be much more attractive than a traditional bank loan for many residents. We hope that on Town Meeting Day, voters will pass the article that the select Board has put on the ballot, and give themselves and their neighbors a chance to participate in PACE."
For more information, call us at 457-2911, or email us. You can also visit our website online at or follow us on Facebook.
By Christopher Bartlett