County Finalizes Deal to Fund EnergySmart Loans

Boulder County announced loans for energy efficiency improvements are now available through Elevations Credit Union, with interest rates purportedly beginning at 2. 75 percent. Voters approved a ballot initiative called the ClimateSmart Loan program in 2008. That program allowed property owners to borrow money from the County with a property assessment paid back over time. However, the ClimateSmart program was cancelled when FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released a policy that said the government-backed mortgages would not purchase loans for homes with this kind of lien.

It has taken the County three years to find a loan provider willing to participate in the revamped program now known as EnergySmart. Property owners apply for EnergySmart loans directly through Elevations, which is making $35 million available for upgrades in Boulder County and Denver. The loan loss reserve — which is set up using money from a federal grant — will equal $8 million. As the initial loans are paid back, that money will be made available again for more loans. In the meantime, a spokesperson for Boulder County says it will continue to lobby the federal government for the right to make property-assessed clean energy loans (PACE). Note: The Colorado Association of Realtors® opposes PACE loans that tie obligations to a property rather than a property owner.

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