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Efficiency Maine PACE presentation at South Berwick

South Berwick officials and representatives from surrounding towns attended Efficiency Maine’s presentation of the PACE program Wednesday night at Town Hall. From the article, Maine energy efficiency program offers loans:

“Our goal is to weatherize the entire state,” said Dana Fischer of Efficiency Maine, after explaining the process in detail and answering questions from the audience. “We’re really hoping we can get every town to pass the PACE ordinance and establish a contract for Efficiency Maine to administer the program.”

PACE offers a homeowner the ability to finance up to $15,000 through a low-interest loan with no administrative costs. If a home energy auditor determines that a homeowner can make substantial changes in their energy efficiency, cash incentives would apply. For a 25 percent reduction in energy costs, $1,500 will be reduced from the loan amount. For 50 percent, the homeowner would receive a $3,000 reduction.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Jeff St. Pierre, a South Berwick resident, home energy auditor and member of the Energy Efficiency Committee. “I hope the town will pass the ordinance.”

Fisher noted that the total cost of the loan including the interest, which should be “no higher than 5 percent,” has to be less than “the cost of doing nothing.” 

A potentially confusing issue with another local grant was discussed.  

Paul Schumacher of Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission questioned how PACE will fit with the $500,000 grant recently awarded to the KEYS region (Kittery, Eliot, York and South Berwick) plus North Berwick and Ogunquit. Schumacher and his committee also had planned to offer energy improvement loans to residents.

“Do we continue with our program, tweak it just a bit, or revise it substantially?” he asked.

Fischer responded by encouraging Schumacher to be creative with their funding.

“Other groups (with similar grants) are expanding their programs,” Fischer said, noting one town assisting homeowners throughout the process and others subsidizing the audit costs. “There are a lot of different practices out there. I’d be happy to share them.”

Read the rest of the story.

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