How Local Public Agencies Can Help Make Efficiency Affordable

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There are options for those who need help financing energy renovations for their homes.

Not every family can afford to make energy renovations to their homes, no matter how badly they may need it. That’s when public agencies can sometimes step in to help.

Frank Paquette is housing and community development supervisor for Kent County. He tells the story of how a family of six living in a one-story 1950s ranch-style home in southern Kent County was able to access help to make their home more energy efficient.

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The family’s annual income was $45,540, making them eligible for help from the county. After they contacted Paquette’s office in March 2017, they were placed on the waiting list. Though it took nearly two years for the work to be bid out to local contractors and completed, the family received repairs and upgrades worth $24,605, about half of which was directly related to energy efficiency.

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The work was done at no expense to the family, but there were continuing contingencies.

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“The program does require that a ‘due on transfer’ lien be placed on the property,” Paquette says. In this case, the lien term was 15 years with zero percent interest and no payments, with the amount of the lien decreasing 1/15 each year. At the end of the 15-year period, the lien is released. If the house is sold before then, the lien transfers to the new owner, who must pay the pro-rated lien amount at settlement.

Published as “Making Efficiency Affordable” in the October 2020 issue of Delaware Today.

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