Low interest loans for home energy improvements will be available to Racine homeowners, under a new city program funded with federal stimulus funds. Loans for the replacement of furnaces, water heaters or insulation will be available to all homeowners, regardless of income.
Mayor John Dickert, Brian O'Connell, director of city development, and Dora Garcia of the City Housing Department, announced the program Saturday.
A press release from City Hall stated that the Racine Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) will pay for comprehensive efficiency retrofits of qualifying older houses, with no upfront costs to the homeowner. Owner-occupied houses within the city constructed between 1946 and 1975 are eligible.
“These retrofits will save homeowners money, put people back to work, and reduce pollution,” said Dickert. O'Connell said the program pays the upfront costs, and the loan is then repaid "with a portion of the monthly savings.” A fact sheet put online by the city says, "The costs will be spread out over a period of several years. This bill will in most cases (unless you greatly increase how much energy you use) be smaller than the reduction in your energy bill – meaning more money stays in your pocket each month."
The Journal Times reports that the revolving loan fund has $160,000. That means that initially, assuming an average loan of $5,000, only 32 loans could be granted until repayments are made to replenish the fund.
Signup information is available from the Racine Housing Department, City Hall, Room 102, or by calling 262-636-9197 or online.
A similar approach was announced last month by Rep. Cory Mason and others, who proposed a statewide program with much more money behind it, to provide low-interest loans for weatherization -- with the requirement that the work be done by local workers. The estimate they offered on Feb. 1 was that the cost of doing a typical home would be $6,500.