TOPEKA | Kansas is offering low-interest loans to help homeowners and small business owners become more energy efficient.
The money could go toward a more efficient furnace or air conditioner, insulation or better doors and windows. The state is using $34 million in federal stimulus dollars to fund the initiative.
Interest rates for the loans will be capped at 4 percent. Private banks will manage the loans and applicants must pass a credit check.
Homeowners can apply for up to $20,000 in loans, and small business owners up to $30,000. But state officials say they expect most loans will be in the $5,000 range.
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Gov. Mark Parkinson announced the program Tuesday. He said it will cut participant’s energy bills, spur jobs in the energy efficiency sector, and help the environment by reducing energy demand.
“Everybody agrees that energy efficiency is a good idea,” said Parkinson, a Democrat. “It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the economy.”
The state estimates the average energy savings for participants at 20 percent.
Participants must first conduct an energy audit of their property to identify inefficiencies. Once the work is completed, the energy savings should more than make up for the monthly loan payments, Parkinson said.
State Treasurer Dennis McKinney recruited 14 banks to manage the loans. The banks will run credit checks on applicants and will keep the interest payments in exchange for managing the loan program.
The first 1,000 participants will get $350 towards the cost of their energy audit.
Parkinson said state officials began discussing the need for such a program three years ago, but couldn’t fund it until the stimulus money arrived.
“It’s only because of the Recovery Act that we’re able to do this,” he said.
More information on the program can be found at www.efficiencykansas.com.