Home Energy Loan Program proposed to Committee
The City Administration is proposing a loan program that will allow homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient.
Following extensive research and public engagement, the proposed Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities, and Corporate Services at its regular meeting February 1, 2021.
If approved, HELP will provide loans for energy efficiency retrofits or renewable energy installations for single-family homeowners.
“It’s a unique program – loans provided from the City are attached to the property being retrofitted or renovated and would be paid back through the homeowners’ property taxes,” says Jeanna South, Director of Sustainability. “The loans are attached to the property and not the person, so the loan can be passed from one homeowner to the next if the property is sold.”
Examples include window and door replacements, solar panel installations, heating and cooling system upgrades, or added insulation.
South says the program is designed to benefit the community in many ways beyond addressing climate change in Saskatoon and nationwide.
“It will assist homeowners in paying for home upgrades that will reduce energy bills, make those upgrades financially accessible, help to make homes more comfortable, and it will stimulate Saskatoon’s economy, especially in the construction and renewables sectors.”
Based on research, public engagement and lessons learned from other municipalities, the report recommends key factors such as:
- Eligibility requirements will include homeowners’ demonstrated good standing on property tax payment
- Participants will pay an administration fee, proposed at approximately $500 per participant, that can be spread out over time in the loan
- Interest rates on loans will match the City’s interest rate on debt for the same term (between 2-4% depending on prime rate)
If approved by City Council, an application will be made through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, bylaw development will proceed with the goal of launching HELP later in 2021.
This program supports the City’s Low Emissions Community Plan, a roadmap that outlines 40 actions the City and community of Saskatoon need to take to help mitigate climate change.