Saturday, 3 July 2010

Financing for energy retrofits coming soon, but facing hurdles

Oakland homeowners may soon have incentives to insulate their walls, upgrade windows and install solar panels, thanks to a countywide program set to launch this fall. Through the Alameda County Energy Efficiency and Green Retrofit Program, owners of residential property in the county can get rebates for making energy-saving improvements to their property. They will also be able to take out a loan to pay for the improvements, and then pay it back through their property taxes over a period of up to 20 years.

"There's a big tidal wave of money coming into the state for energy-saving home retrofits," said Bruce Mast, director of programs for Build It Green, one of the retrofit program's numerous partners. Mast introduced the complex scheme, part of a statewide initiative called Energy Upgrade California, to some 70 contractors at Hayward City Hall on Wednesday evening, June 30.

"It's a government-sponsored tidal wave so it's moving at a glacial pace," he joked, followed by chuckles from the audience, who listened intently to what could be a major boon to the green building industry. "But it is eventually going to thaw, and when it does it's going to be big, and hopefully we're going to be ready."

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