On March 17, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Assistant to the Speaker, introduced the National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund Act, which will enable over one million households across the country to achieve significant, cost-effective energy savings.
The legislation will create a National Home Energy Saving Revolving Fund to allow local governments to provide homeowners with zero-interest loans to make certified home energy savings improvements. These loans are then paid back at a net savings to participating homeowners through their property taxes.
“Home energy efficiency improvements are good for the environment, the economy and family budgets,” said Van Hollen. “By allowing people to pay the cost of retrofitting their homes over time as part of their property taxes, we will help put over one million homeowners on the path to an energy efficient future and achieve considerable savings on their energy bills.”
The National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund Act would do the following: Create a National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund in the Department of Energy. Capitalize the National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund at $10 billion in two $5 billion increments over 2010 and 2011.
The legislation will direct the Secretary of Energy to develop an application local governments can use to access monies available in the Revolving Fund to provide homeowners with up to $10,000 in zero-interest loans to finance qualified home energy audits and certified home energy savings improvements, as developed by the Secretary of Energy in consultation with the State Energy Advisory Board.
The bill also requires participating local governments to establish a method by which participating homeowners can repay their loans through their property taxes with payback periods that ensure that aggregate savings participating homeowners achieve through certified home energy savings improvements exceed their annual repayment costs, up to a maximum loan term of 15 years.
As written, the bills mandates participating local governments to provide programmatic information to interested homeowners including a list of qualified home energy auditors, eligible uses of loan funds and repayment procedures for loan funds — as well as annual reports to the Secretary of Energy describing the use of outstanding loan funds, the number of loans provided with the outstanding funds, the repayment rate of the loans, the default rate of the loans, and any other information the Secretary may require.
Original co-sponsors of the National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund Act include Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Congressman David Loebsack (D-IA), Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), and Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU).