Making your home more energy-efficient can have numerous benefits, the most notable of which is a marked reduction in your monthly heating and cooling bills. The amount of money the average homeowner can save by performing basic improvement projects, let alone major renovations, is nothing to scoff at.
Adding insulation in bare attics, installing new windows and doors, sealing up drafty gaps, and laying carpet over hardwood flooring are all examples of ways you can realistically save a bundle on those dreaded energy costs.
Understanding HELP: Why it Matters
Of course, not everyone has the money to invest in a new set of eco-friendly windows, which is why the Toronto Government created the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), one designed to assist homeowners who cannot afford housing upgrades that would otherwise save them money and reduce their environmental footprint.
When viewed from a large-scale perspective, it’s actually in the best interest of local governments to promote programs of this sort, much as it is for them to provide home and business owners with tax credits for their eco-friendly efforts.
HELP is specific to the City of Toronto, and it gives homeowners access to low interest loans that they can use to make various energy-efficient improvements. It can be difficult to secure funding for retrofit projects, as conventional lenders typically charge higher rates and require applicants to have adequate credit in order to be approved.
This is where the HELP repayment plan stands out and helps people with low incomes substantially. Instead of charging a separate loan installment, the city allows homeowners to pay back the funding through supplemental property tax charges.
Thus, in addition to getting a far better rate than most people can find elsewhere, HELP applicants can enjoy the peace of mind knowing their loan is being paid on time. The City of Toronto tacks on an additional fee so to speak, which in effect makes the repayment process effortless for the homeowner.
The true benefit of HELP comes from the realization that the annual savings accrued by performing retrofit jobs, such as replacing a faulty furnace or putting new insulation into an attic or crawlspace, ultimately offsets the loan payments.
These savings coupled with the low interest rates offered by the program virtually offset the cost of the loan altogether in most cases, so it really is a win-win for those wanting to apply. You also have to consider the increase in your home’s equity as well; buyers are always more interested in energy-efficient properties!