Loan Program Promotes Energy Efficiency

Fayetteville -- The City of Fayetteville is offering property owners a new way to cut utility bills, becoming the first in the state to offer a PACE program.

The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program offers up front loans to improve a building's energy efficiency.

"We really preach a whole building analysis type approach," says Peter Nierengarten, Director of Sustainability and Resilience for the city of Fayetteville. "HVAC, insulation, air sealing and duct sealing, a lot of that stuff is not very sexy, but it's very cost effective in terms of bang for buck."

Solar panels, low flow fixtures and LED lighting can also qualify.

"It works seamlessly with utility incentives that already exist through SWEPCO, Sourcegas and Ozarks Electric," Nierengarten says.

The loan is tied to property taxes, keeping interest rates low, and spreading out payments. Nierengarten says that means the projects pay off immediately.

"The energy savings per month is greater than the monthly payment on that loan to do those improvements," he says. "It can help stimulate the economy by creating jobs in the clean energy sector. It can help reduce folks' utility bills... It will help reduce our dependence on the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels."

Fayetteville's leaders hope to get other local cities on board.

"We're hopeful we can show a successful program here in Fayetteville, and that success will breed replication, and others will be eager to join our district," he says.

Right now, most homeowners cannot participate in the program, because of complications with mortgage lenders. Fayetteville hopes to see that change soon, but for now they are focusing on commercial, multifamily, and industrial properties.

For more information or to apply, visit this site.

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