October 29, 2014 - Special financing is now available for energy efficiency retrofit projects in rental properties across Washtenaw County. Eligible projects include building shell improvements such as insulation and air sealing as well as heating and cooling system upgrades.
The a2energy Loan Fund for Rental Housing features low-interest loans for landlords of one- to four-unit rental properties across Washtenaw County. This new initiative is made possible by funding from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities grant to Washtenaw County and a University of Michigan Dow Distinguished Award for Sustainability. The City of Ann Arbor is partnering with Clean Energy Coalition, a local nonprofit, to launch and administer the fund.
"About 50 percent of the housing stock in Washtenaw County's urban core is rental property, much of which is aging and therefore likely to be less efficient and less comfortable," said Mary Jo Callan, director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. "By focusing on smaller rental properties, this loan fund targets a specific part of the housing sector that is often neglected by energy efficiency programs but has great potential for improvement. The loan fund offers reduced interest rates for low-income rental properties across the county, which will benefit renters most in need of lower energy costs."
In Ann Arbor alone, residential rental parcels spend approximately $30 million annually on energy. Improving the energy efficiency of these properties would not only save landlords and tenants money on utility bills, but could also increase property comfort and value.
The a2energy Loan Fund provides loans of up to $8,000 per property to complete eligible energy retrofit projects. Projects should be scoped out based on a comprehensive energy audit, which is required for all participating properties. Work must be completed by a Michigan Saves-authorized contractor.
"Ann Arbor's Climate Action Plan sets a goal of reducing communitywide greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025," said Jamie Kidwell-Brix, sustainability associate at the City of Ann Arbor. "Increasing energy efficiency in rental housing is an important step in reaching this goal."
Funds for this program are limited. Interested landlords, property managers or property owners should visit a2gov.org/loanfund for more information and to request an application.
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