Innovative loan program paves way to energy savings
When we take out a loan to finance a car, we’re left paying it off for years, even though the car’s value depreciates. But with a home energy-efficiency loan, the return on your investment can show in energy savings for years to come.
For example, Ed from Castlegar borrowed funds to upgrade from electric baseboard heating to a ductless air source heat pump system.
“The savings from this new system is actually paying for more than our loan. Our loan is about $820 a year and we’re saving about $900 a year, so we’re just excited about that, really tickled,” said Ed.
After tracking his electricity use from November 2012 to March 2013, Ed calculated that his electricity bill decreased by about 30 per cent. His attention to energy efficiency has helped him achieve an impressive EnerGuide® rating of 82. EnerGuide is a standard measure of a whole home’s energy efficiency.
The FortisBC PowerSense heat pump loan provides up to $6,500 at 4.9 per cent over 10 years. It’s ideal for homes with electric forced air or baseboards as their primary heating system.
Participants of the Kootenay Energy Diet can also finance their energy efficiency upgrades through a loan made available through participating credit unions.
“Our members have definitely been curious about the loan. Through this offering we want to help increase economic development in the area and help our customers make their homes more efficient,” said Lawrence Makortoff, manager, lending services, Creston and District Credit Union.
Creston and District, Nelson and District, Kootenay Savings, Heritage and Grand Forks Credit Unions are all offering financing to Kootenay Energy Diet participants. The loan provides up to $20,000 to qualified applicants, with no money down, an amortization period of up to 10 years, an interest rate of 4.5 per cent and the option to pay it off at any time.
“It was a no brainer for us,” said Rob, a Kelowna resident who took advantage of a similar loan program to pay for the upgrades recommended by the Certified Energy Advisor who performed his initial home energy assessment.
“You don’t have to come up with the initial investment and it spreads the payment out over 10 years, keeping payments low,” said Rob.
He plans to implement all of the recommendations from his assessment, which could reduce his energy use by up to 35 per cent.
“Our energy savings help pay for the loan,” said Rob. “Plus, the investment increases the value of our home.”
With these innovative loan programs, FortisBC’s customers can overcome the upfront cost of home energy-saving improvements. The loan allows them to upgrade now and pay the loan back over time while they enjoy the comfort and cost-saving benefits.
With the predictable monthly payments and long payback period, it’s manageable too. And, unlike the new car loan, the upgrades can continue to save customers money, even after the loan is repaid.
The heat pump loan program is available to participants who have electricity as their primary heating system. Visit fortisbc.com/heatpump for details. Contact your credit union for more information about their energy-efficiency loan programs. To sign up for the Kootenay Energy Diet, visit fortisbc.com/energydiet.