The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) is a financial tool that is intended to help the homeowners improve on the efficiency of the home energy, and save money. The program allows qualifying homeowners to apply for a low interest loan to enable them to improve the efficiency in energy consumption. The beneficiary will then pay back the city over time in small installment on their property tax bill. The Help programs main objective is to help the homeowners in acquiring and upgrading their furnace into high efficient furnace, energy efficient doors and windows as well as other insulation upgrades.
The city of Toronto introduced this program as a way to achieve its goal of eighty percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Research indicates that buildings, including homes are responsible for emitting forty four percent of greenhouse gases.
The program has many benefits as compared to traditional financing. Some of these benefits include:
- Low fixed interest rates
- Longer repayment terms, which are up to 15 years
- Since the LIC is attached to the property the financial obligation is transferred to the successive owners upon the sale of the property.
How the program works
A homeowner is required to voluntarily apply for the HELP program and enters into an agreement with the city to undertake the qualifying energy efficiency and water conservation improvement. The city then imposes a local improvement charge that is equal to the whole cost of the improvement exercise which includes an administrative charge as well as the interest. The LIC appears as a surcharge on the property bill. The homeowners are then required to make payments through the tax bill for the agreed period. This payment obligation is arched to the property and not to the owner. This means that these charges are transferred to the successive owners. The city has the ability to offer the homeowners who are qualified fixed rate interest rates that start from 2.5 by leveraging its borrowing power.
What Improvements are Included
- Drain water heat recovery system
- High efficiency furnace/boiler
- High efficiency water heater
- Window or door replacement
- Attic insulation
- High efficiency central air conditioner
- Air sealing
- Exterior wall insulation